Tucked into the upper story of a delightfully faded building in Chinatown, Kissa Tanto serves up a posh fusion of Italian and Japanese food. They take their inspiration from the delicate flavours of Japanese cuisine and the warmth of ltalian cooking.
Kissa Tanto won Canada’s best new restaurant by enRoute magazine. Their sister restaurant is Bao Bei, only a few blocks away. All of us haven’t heard about Kissa Tanto when they won the award, so we made it a mission to check it out for dinner. We had a large group of 6 and had to wait over a month for a seat as they only have one table for 6 people.
We had to provide a credit card in advance for the reservation. If we didn’t show up, they would charge us $150 cancellation fee.
Once we headed upstairs, we were transported into the 1960’s. It is styled like old Tokyo jazz cafés.
The dusty-pink leather banquettes, banker’s lamps and brass railings really make this place shine and give it the ambiance.
The space isn’t that large, so reservations are highly recommended to avoid waits and disappointment.
There are 12 seats at the bar that are first come first serve, which require no reservations.
Four Winds Saison is what I ordered. One of my favourite light fruity tasting beers.
Four on six sour was what the others ordered. It has a mix of Bourbon, noilly prat amber, charred pineapple, lemongrass shrub, ardberg, and egg white.
To Begin With – Appetizers
Albacore tuna crudo with shiso vinaigrette, radishes, Tokyo leek, capers, pickled almonds, Castelvetrano olives, and mustard greens. Very delicious light and you can taste the freshness of the tuna paired with the other ingredients. One of my favourite appetizers.
Octopus Salad has crispy octopus, citrus mayonnaise, daikon, radish, basil, ikura, and parmesan. The octopus was a decent texture, but I thought it would be a bit softer.
Frittelle di Melanzane is a garlic eggplant fritter with yuzu gribiche, basil and bonito salt, and shaved katsuo. It comes with 3 pieces was delicious. Soft on the inside but crisp on the outside.
Terrina Frita has pink, pickled daikon and nori mustard on bruschetta. This was one of the specials for today. I love the vibrant colours, but it was a so-so dish.
Tender to the Tooth – Pasta
Lasagne del Giorno was the lasagne of the day and it featured winter chanterelles & pork with a miso bechamel and basil cream sauce. Very delicious and each layer melded well together.
Tajarin is made of butter, roasted mushrooms, and miso cured yolk. Three of my favourite ingredients. the simplicity of this pasta dish really spoke to my tastebuds.
Casarecce is pasta in a pork and sake kasu ragu. The type of pasta helps capture some of the sauce in it’s crevices. Also very delicious.
Sharing is Caring – Entrees for Sharing
Lamb Shoulder is served with tosaka seaweed, fregola, anchovy butter, puréed egg yolk, Sicilian olives, and pickled peppers. The lamb was tender and it was an interesting experience navigating how to eat this dish.
One of the other specials for the day was their Beef Cheeks with braised tomato and anchovies, and gnocchi. The delicious jus of the beef covered the fluffy gnocchi. Tender and flavourful beef.
Whole Fish of the Day was Sea Perch for $40. It is flash-fried and served with a daikon soy dipping sauce. It was super crisp and easy to eat as every bit of it was edible – even the bones. The bones were crunch like chips.
Yuzu Cream has Sicilian pistachios, olive oil crumble and season fruit in it.
Tiramisu has a touch of plum wine. Very light and fluffy layers.
Flourless Chocolate Cake was rich and dense. It is served with miso-caramel ice cream.
Overall, it was a fun dinner with friends – Foodgressing, Vie a Maggi, Picky Diner, Sherman, and Drunken Noms – who all enjoy good food. With the 6 of us, we shared 13 dishes. 2 and a bit dishes for each person.
From what we tried, I could really see the fusion between Japanese and Italian cooking. It’s pretty interesting to see these 2 cuisines come together as it’s not common at all.
We Rate Kissa Tanto:
263 E Pender Street, Vancouver