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Opening: Late July
The vibe: Chambar has always managed to balance an innate sense of trend with a relaxed, socially energetic atmosphere. The larger new location adds outdoor real estate — simply the cherry on top for a kitchen that already delivers. (Note: Café Medina is also moving, to 780 Richards St.)
Eat: A seasonal small plates menu is perfect for sharing, or plump for the restaurant’s famed moules frites. For something more substantial, think veal tenderloin with sautéed calamari, cassava, heirloom radish, citrus aioli, and rum demi-glace.
Drink: The Belgian beer list. Or go with one of the city’s most innovative cocktail lists. The Palomino’s Fortress (Citadelle gin, amontillado sherry, and Campari) should hit the summer spot just right.
The vibe: Harried shoppers, ladies who lunch, and families looking for a relaxing bite away from the food court.
Eat: Share an antipasti platter, or try the signature spaghetti and meatballs (gluten-free pastas available). In a hurry? The 45-minute lunch specials are available until 3 p.m.
Drink: Mmm…the sun’s out, so it must be Negroni time. Or try a lighter blast on a bitters theme with an Aperol spritz.
Opening: Late August
The vibe: Think upscale Euro-chic, with tables of Tuscan marble, Parisian- inspired domed awnings, and carefully curated topiary. Expect a genteel, smart set looking for a sophisticated retreat from the hustle of Robson Street.
Eat: A chilled seafood tower from the raw bar, perhaps. Or executive chef Alex Chen’s Balik-style coho salmon, with potato blini, asparagus, and free-range egg.
Drink: Try a Sea Island Iced Tea: Okanagan Spirits aquavit and sea buckthorn liqueur, cold-brewed jasmine tea, local ginger, lemon, and honey.
Opening: Mid July
The vibe: Monk McQueens was the granddaddy of sea-perched decks. That massive space, with its stunning views across False Creek, reboots thanks to the Mahony family; expect cheerful hustle and bustle from a crowd looking for post-work sundowner libations.
Eat: Take the Irish route and try the gammon bacon burger, bangers and mash, or Irish stew. Or go lighter with fish tacos, thin crust pizza, or a papaya salad.
Drink: Lots of draft beers to choose from; wine drinkers will be pleased to see an extensive selection of B.C. labels under $40.
Opened: 2013. Plaza patio opened June
The vibe: Serious beer heads meet seawall cyclists meet parents relieved to enjoy a pint while the kids wear themselves out running around that square with Myfanwy MacLeod’s big birds.
Eat: Keep it simple with wings, nachos, ribs, and burgers — we can’t, in good conscience, recommend the 20 Napkin Burger, a behemoth comprising 20 ounces of beef topped with bacon, cheese, and a mini-burger garnish.
Drink: Beer. Seriously. Canada’s largest selection of draft beer will keep you sated for some time — and that’s before you take in the seasonal specials, flights, or (yes, please) a Guinness float with Earnest ice cream for dessert.
Opening: Early July, permit gods willing
The vibe: Think contemporary Italian piazza café. Internationally acclaimed gelato master James Coleridge’s second location (the original is beside the Fairmont Pacific Rim; another is coming to Los Angeles) is the perfect spot for people-watching by the seawall.
Eat: Coleridge has competed around the world, taking top honours at many, including the Florence International Gelato Festival. So you’re having a scoop, lineups be damned. (The secret staff combo, by the way, is salted caramel and lemon.) Or try the authentic pizza Napoletana first and feel virtuous.
Drink: Settle in with a newly-created “gelatini” — the marriage of martini and gelato of our dreams.
The Classic Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House With its immaculately coiffed garden, chilled seafood towers, and ebullient vibe dished up by local institution and maître d’ Frenchy, the patio atop Joe Fortes is a perennial destination. Put on your glad rags, order something with fizz, and impress your date, coworkers, or mom (especially when happy hour at the bar means savvy savings). 777 Thurlow St., 604-669-1940
The Avant-Garde Secret Location It may be little more than a half-sidewalk strip separated by a railing, but the patio at Secret Location offers another culinary adventure courtesy of chef Jefferson Alvarez. Foie gras with Champagne gel and fossilized berries may not be your regular sidewalk snack (ditto beef tendons with truffle), but that’s the point. Let Alvarez’s modernist creations echo the urban vibe of a patch of Gastown pavement for two. 134 Abbott St., 604-685-0021
The Drop Dead Gorgeous Lift Bar & Grill There’s no contest when it comes to Lift’s location: perched on stilts above Coal Harbour, the patio is breathtakingly beautiful. Secure a seat on the newly canopied deck before sunset, cuddle up with the one you love, and have a picture-postcard romantic evening without the trouble of buying a plane ticket to paradise. 333 Menchion Mews, 604-689-5438
More: Our Favorite 2013 Summer Patios