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Step Inside the Blockbuster Montecito Project


The mondo restaurant collabo between director Ivan Reitman and star chef Jonathan Waxman at 299 Adelaide Street West will premiere next month. But first, a preview from contributor Renée Suen, who had the opportunity to tour the facility with general manager Jimson Bienenstock last week.

The key takeaways:

· Despite his lack of experience in the restaurant world, Reitman has been intimately involved in the design and décor: everything from general aesthetics, the eclectic custom furniture made by area businesses, to selecting all the noble materials used – the handmade tiles, the wood flooring, the wood work, and glass. He's particularly proud of the lighting. The goal was to make the space feel like his Montecito, California home.

· The main bar: A long bar divides the main street-level room from the 45-seat al fresco dining space and 60-70 seat Adelaide Street-facing patio.

· The main dining room will have a wraparound banquette, filled with tables for twos- and fours-, and round tables acting as anchors in the corners.

· The restaurant will be equipped with state of the art technology, including a surround sound system, in-floor heating and flat screens layered behind a window-like archway that will project a looped 4K film showing a panoramic view of Reitman's lush backyard in Montecito. Expect a sunrise view at lunch, breezy midday winds, and a sunset at supper time. Just because.

More observations after the photos.

· Three harvest tables will be parked in front of the open kitchen. Chef's tables, in other words.

· According to Reitman the restaurant will feature "great ingredients, simple, well prepared in a handsome but comfortable environment. In Toronto, things are either too funky, and the environment is too thrown together, or it's too fussy and too fancy, meant for special occasions and the food is worked over too much, too many ingredients and as if the chef is showing off. The wonderful thing about Jonathan's attitude towards food is great ingredients, seasoned perfectly, and to get it on the table as fast as you can."

· Waxman is "highly excited" to work with the Canadian ingredients he has long admired after his first encounter with some of it at a guest dinner stint in Toronto four years ago. Montecito's supplier driven menu will feature seasonal Ontario produce sourced directly from local farms, including organic chicken from Mennonite cooperatives (used in his popular roast chicken, which will appear on the Toronto menu), cheeses direct from nearby dairies, grass-fed beef (which he has confessed was the best he's ever eaten), and shellfish from the Maritimes.

· Executive chef Matt Robertson (previously of Red's Midtown, TOCA, Canoe) will helm the kitchen.

· The venue can cater to groups of up to 400. A dining room above the kitchen doubles up as a separate event space.

· James Taylor (BarChef, Terroni) heads the beverage program, while sommelier Stephanie Guth (who cooked at Truffles and TOCA before jumping to front of house at Pied a Terre, London) and Bienenstock will run the wine program.

· Montecito will be open seven days a week, serving lunch, brunch and a late-night menu until 2:00 a.m. daily.

· All Montecito Coverage [-ETO-]

Montecito Restaurant

299 Adelaide St W, Toronto, ON M5V 1P7