The idea of a new restaurant to transform the void that exists in the entertainment district got my mind enthralled, my mouth salivating, and my stomach growling. It took the brilliance and hard work of World-renowned chef, Jonathan Waxman and Toronto native, restaurateur and Hollywood director, Ivan Reitman, to realize this potential with the new Montecito Restaurant – a charming, eclectic, upscale but warm and inviting destination sure to please both foodies and socialites alike. A new Toronto dining experience is soon to be born.

On the second floor with a view of the main floor

Montecito is not just another average restaurant. From the vision of Ivan Reitman and Jonathan Waxman to the architects and interior designers who are creating this well thought out restaurant, we can already see its potential while still under construction. A hard hat tour of the space reveals a layout that is grand and airy with its entrance, open and welcoming. The 12,000 square foot does not feel constrained at all. From the entrance you are presented with options of the main dinning area, a bar and patio area on the ground floor. For those particular not just to the sense of taste but to smell and sight, there is also a chef’s table in close proximity to the open kitchen.

The open kitchen setup

The open kitchen setup

A stairway leads to a cozy 2nd more exclusive affair by movable walls and the use of a private staircase and separate entrance. A restaurant for all occasions, an state-of-the-art sound and lighting system all throughout the restaurant and a DJ booth has been built into the restaurant with grand plans in mind which I’m sure will include the gathering of many of Ivan Reitman’s friends in the movie industry. Eclectic, lush and warm, Southern Italian home meets Southern Californian chic, this is the imagery Montecito elicits in its plans.

The al fresco dining area

The al fresco dining area

Aesthetics aside, what’s a restaurant for all intents and purposes if not for food? Meeting with the Executive Chef, Matt Robertson, the emphasis he says is on the simplicity of local farm-to-table sourced food in uncomplicated Californian cuisine. Simplicity is hard to come by these days, as extra effort is needed to source quality food extracted at the best time of the season. With it comes the reward of healthier, tastier dishes of gastronomical satisfaction. Montecito will feature organic chicken from Mennonite cooperatives, seasonal Ontario fruits and vegetables, shellfish from Maritime, cheeses from local diaries among other efforts to ‘simplify’ the menu, which will rotate on a daily basis. There are not many other restaurants which have the bravery and culinary passion to have a rotating menu as it can be a challenge both logistically and creatively. The wine menu will feature local wines from the Niagara region and California as well.

Montecito will also feature it’s own wine label, also a product of California. And “direct trade” coffee will be part of the menu brought to you by Pilot Coffee Roasters who actually personally visit the farms and buy from the farmers directly.

The team at Montecito has spared no effort in making the dining experience simple and effortless. Reminiscent of the old days where you cook with what is in season, cook with ingredients of quality, and you cook it well. Toronto will be in great anticipation of this new culinary partnership of Jonathan Waxman and Ivan Reitman.

Montecito is set to open very soon this summer for patio season and TIFF in September.

Address: 299 Adelaide Street West, Toronto

No official menu yet but aiming to be reasonably priced ($45 for 2)
300 approx seating capacity

For more info visit www.montecitorestaurant.ca
Photos from May 30, 2014 by Nick Lee

Ivan Reitman, Jonathan Waxman

Ivan Reitman, Jonathan Waxman

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