First Look: Montecito, Jonathan Waxman's Toronto DebutBy Robert Hickey | July 15, 2014 By Robert Hickey | July 15, 2014
The wait is finally over. One of the city's most hotly anticipated restaurants, Montecito, has finally opened its doors to the public. Spearheaded by the celebrity chef and movie director team of Jonathan Waxman and Ivan Reitman, the massive restaurant raises the bar for dining in the Entertainment District (behind the TIFF Bell Lightbox). We've been closely watching the space being transformed over the months, and we finally got a look at the (nearly) finished restaurant this week.
Montecito is a multilevel culinary emporium. General manager Jimson Bienenstock took us on a tour, showcasing each corner of the restaurant that has been dressed to meticulous detail. Adding together the main dining room to the bespoke cocktail lounge upstairs (soon to be opened) and the 50 seat patio out front facing Adelaide Street, Montecito can seat a total of 320 diners.
The restaurant is the latest joint project between Ivan Reitman and Jonathan Waxman, who have been friends for decades. This is their first venture together. During a recent conversation, Waxman extolled his desires on creating a seasonally driven menu that highlights the best ingredients in the country. "I have access to so many ingredients here, and I'm confident that we can do a better job in Toronto than New York. There's so much access to great ingredients," said Waxman. While he oversees the culinary program at Montecito, he leaves the cooking to Matt Robertson (Reds Midtown) and Gaetano Ferrera (Scarpetta). The goal is simple: Find the best local ingredients, and showcase the best local artisans. All seafood items are natural and sustainably caught.
There's also some serious talent behind the drink menu. Jimson Bienenstock (George, Soho House) and sommelier Stephanie Guth (Pied à Terre, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel) have created a hugely approachable wine list, while Bar manager James Taylor (Barchef) oversees both of the restaurant's bars.
We recently had a chance to experience Montecito first hand, and here are our highlights.
299 Adelaide St. W.; 416-599-0299