No. 14: Kissa Tanto
KISSA MEANS “CAFÉ” IN JAPANESE.
Tanto means “a lot” in Italian. Together, they suggest The House of Plenty, a perfectly playful name for this unassumingly sophisticated new Japanese-Italian restaurant that has taken Vancouver by storm. Hidden away in a second-storey loft on the gritty side of Chinatown, the romantic supper club transports you to another time, when people still dressed up for dinner and a night on the town evoked a sense of occasion. It’s a place where lovers can hold hands in dimly lit banquettes, while the broken-hearted might search for solace in a bottle of Barolo, a dram of Japanese whiskey or dainty sips of sake, all chased by a soulful jazz soundtrack at the welcoming wood-and-brass bar.
Dreamt up by Tannis Ling, the owner of the widely acclaimed Bao Bei, along with her long-time executive chef Joël Watanabe and sous-chef Alain Chow, Kissa Tanto derives its nouveau inspiration from a couple of old-school cuisines, which actually share an awful lot of common ground in their mutual love of seasonality, simplicity, exquisite noodles and earthy umami. Begin the night by nibbling on crusty sourdough smeared with creamy confit-tuna tonnato and crunchy flying fish or croquettes stuffed with Parmesan potatoes and ginger. Proceed to a pasta course, perhaps seaweed tortellini or pork ragù braised in sake kasu, or lees. Finish with fried zeppole dough balls filled with salted-plum ricotta, dusted with cherry-blossom sugar and dipped in miso-laced caramel. Like many an unexpected love story, none of it sounds like it will work, and yet it does. Brilliantly.
Tuesday to Saturday
5:30 PM until 12:00 AM
FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY BY IAN LANTERMAN, INTERIOR BY KNAUF & BROWN