Introducing: Montecito, the Ivan Reitman-owned restaurant near TIFF Bell Lightbox
Contact Info: 299 Adelaide St. W., 416-599-0299, montecitorestaurant.ca, @Montecito_TO
Neighbourhood: Entertainment District
Owners: Ivan Reitman, Jonathan Waxman (of Babuto fame), and Tom and Jordan Bitove (from Innov8 Hospitality, the group behind Wayne Gretzky’s)
Executive Chef: Matt Robertson, the former executive chef at Reds Midtown
The Food: The daily-changing menu blends Waxman’s signature California cuisine with Canadian veggies, cheeses, meats and seafood (a list of local suppliers is printed right on the menu). Vegetables are highlighted on almost every plate, including Waxman’s world-famous roast chicken—a dish “so impressive that it’s arguably cause for scientific study,” according to the New York Times—which is served here with fresh herbs and salsa verde. As promised, there is a Ghostbusters-themed dessert (although, contrary to early reports, it doesn’t actually explode).
The Drinks: Like the food menu, the wine list is also updated daily. Sommelier Stephanie Guth and general manager Jimson Bienenstock are behind the wide-ranging list of hard-to-find wines, including a serious selection of grower champagnes and four house wines. Former Barchef mixologist James Taylor crafts simple cocktails with house-made floral bitters and Beamsville honey.
The Place: Montecito feels like exactly the kind of place where multi-million-dollar movie deals might get hammered out over lunch. There are at least five distinct “zones,” including a hangar-sized dining room, a trio of chef’s tables, a downstairs bar, an upstairs bar/lounge and a patio on Adelaide Street. Ivan Reitman was involved in the design, and it shows: black-and-white movie stills hang in the dining room, as does a looped film that he shot from his Montecito home.