Just in time for TIFF, a new two-storey restaurant has opened up on Adelaide, steps away from the King Street’s Lightbox and theatre district. Montecito, named after a wealthy community in Southern California, is the love child of Hollywood Director Ivan Reitman (Ghostbusters, Space Jam, EuroTrip, Up in the Air) and Master Chef Jonathan Waxman.
The restaurant has the feel of Southern California, with greenery like orange trees throughout and 55” 4k technology screens in arched windows playing video shot by Reitman outside of homes in Montecito. Reitman isn’t just a silent partner either: “He’s very involved even when he’s not here… super hands-on”, General Manager Jimson Bienenstock said, while skimming through dozens of messages from Ivan on his phone.
It doesn’t take long to get into the casual professionalism vibe – no matter what you feel like, because there’s a meticulously designed space for everyone, whether you’re looking for a bar, family-friendly dining space, a table near the open kitchen, private event area upstairs for those red carpet film launches, or a nighttime lounge. They’re open from lunch (brunch on weekends) until their late night menu ending at 1:30am, allowing you to wine and dine after a show instead of just before, something which is “sorely lacking in Toronto”, Bienenstock informed me.
The seasonal menu changes every day, but some signature items may stick around so long as the ingredients are available. To start, try the salad of Ontario’s multi-coloured heirloom tomatoes and titanic chunks of focaccia and buffalo mozzarella treading in a roasted tomato puree and olive oil dressing ($14). For simple and delicious, recommended is the dish of meatballs covered in a tomato sugo, on top of creamy polenta and sprinkled with thin slices of parmesan cheese ($19).
As a playful finish, the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man baked Alaska ($12) plays homage to the most memorable Ghostbusters character in an edible form. Layered with Genoise sponge cake, marshmallow made in-house from scratch, and lightly browned meringue, this signature dessert is a comedic work of art in every spoonful.
Montecito takes locavore dining very seriously. I’m not talking about a few Canadian-inspired menu items here or there – Montecito is fully immersed in local ingredients for every single dish and drink they make. Whether it’s a nearby dairy, antibiotic-free beef supplier, or the Maritime’s best seafood, Montecito takes pride in ethically-sourced ingredients that can speak for themselves in freshness, right down to the “coffee roasted in Leslieville and delivered to us on a bike”, boasted Bienenstock.
They make their own bitters, wine, freshly baked bread, and have Harmony Organic Dairy delivering milk in glass bottles to their back door. I know, right? From rooftop herb garden to menus printed on 100% recycled Canadian paper; the Montecito team has considered every last detail and square foot. It’s the kind of place that makes you feel buzzed after eating, excited about exploring, and ultimately eager to see what they’re going to do next.
Will you soon be checking out Montecito? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @ViewTheVibe.