Planted on a residential strip of Ossington just north of Bloor, the cozy 30-seat space is also the home Justin shares with his food stylist wife Claudia and their two-year-old son. They own the building, live upstairs and have spent four years slowly and lovingly restoring it while the neighbourhood, a mix of Italian and Portuguese families, first-time homeowners and aging ones, watched and helped. It was important to Justin that he create the place first - put down roots on this street, lay the concrete and build the garage outside, expose the brick and stain the tables inside. Bit by bit, everything by hand. Everything with care.
Inspiration for the menu will come from the area's cultural presence, the heartfelt, humble European cooking Claudia was raised on and the French technique he trained with. Dishes will start with whatever is seasonal, fresh and inspiring, and thus change often. Every plate will be authentic and thought out; herbs and tomatoes will be clipped from the backyard garden; the organic Italian olive oil shipped in from a hometown family connection; and the wine list supported by manager, Daniel Brooks. Daniel comes with considerable restaurant experience both in Toronto and New York City, a love of the traditions surrounding wine and passion for the thrill of creating a list that balances old world bottles with local gems.
This new restaurant is steeped in history and meaningful connections that have come together organically - the wood used for tables, the bar top, the ceiling and cold cellar comes from the family's 150-year-old lumber yard; the bar is faced with vintage drawer fronts found in the building's basement; Justin's collection (read: obsession) of old copper pots and diner dishes will keep beautiful food accessible; road signs and paintings of old family Polaroids decorate the walls; and milkglass fixtures give a warm glow while guests sit in old schoolhouse chairs with simple tea towels in their laps.
Eating at Actinolite should feel like coming home. And, in fact, it is home, in every sense of the word.
|Tuesday||-||6:00pm - 10:00pm|
|Wednesday||-||6:00pm - 10:00pm|
|Thursday||-||6:00pm - 10:00pm|
|Friday||-||6:00pm - 10:00pm|
|Saturday||-||6:00pm - 10:00pm|