Kissa Tanto has won many awards and recently won top 100 restaurants in Canada so it has definitely been on my radar to try. Hearing that it is almost impossible to get reservations, we decided to go shortly after they opened at 5:30pm since they save some spots for walk-ins. Located in Chinatown, it’s quite hidden and easy to walk by without noticing it. Seems like a lot of upscale restaurants continue to open in this area.
Walking in, you’ll see this funny quote on the wall. Then you’ll take a flight of stairs to get to the restaurant.
Wow the restaurant decor was really cool. It had this retro but sophisticated feel. It actually reminded me of the inside of an old train or hotel. Apparently it is inspired by the jazz bars back in the day though. You could tell they really put a lot of thought in the interior design. We were seated at a booth with deep blue colours and a cool looking lamp. Loved this vintage feel.
My Private Tokyo
To start, I got the My Private Tokyo. It should be worth noting that Kissa Tanto has a great selection of cocktails and they are famous for them. My drink featured Amaretto Disaronno, Umeshu plum wine, Martini Dry, lemon, egg white, and the rims were dusted with plum sea salt. If you’re a fan of plum wine, then you’ll enjoy this.
Oolong Tea Shochu
J got the Oolong Tea Shochu which featured pandan, yuzu, plum bitters, and tonic. This was a relatively light drink and I didn’t think it was too special compared to the other drinks on the menu.
Kissa Tanto is know for Japanese-Italian cuisine so is definitely very unique. To start, we tried the Octopus Salad which featured crispy smoked octopus, fresh and pickled radishes, mustard greens, parsley and chili purée. I enjoyed the first couple of bites initially but after a while, the mustard greens were a bit too overbearing for me. I didn’t enjoy the slightly peppery bitter flavours. The octopus itself was cooked to tender and crispy on the outside. However, the mustard greens and pickled radishes were not personally ingredients I enjoyed.
Another appetizer we tried was the Carne Cruda which is sort of like their take on beef tartare. They use Snake River Farms wagyu beef with pearl onion petals, charred scallion soy, parmesan, arima sansho, and fresh herbs. A side of gnocco frito which are Italian fried dough are used as sort of chips to accompany the beef tartare. I liked how they shaved so much parmesan on the beef and the beef was extremely tender.
I suggested we get a veggie dish so chose the Eggplant which is topped with miso besciamella and almond crumble. The Japanese eggplant is roasted and this unique pairing of miso which is usually used in Japanese cuisine along with besciamella which is a béchamel creamy sauce typically used in Italian cuisine seemed to work. I personally wished the eggplant was cooked softer though as I like it sort of mushy. However, the flavours were very interesting and nothing like I’ve tried before.
Moving onto the star of the night. The pastas at Kissa Tanto are delicious! We asked our server what she recommended and she said the Tajarin is a favourite. To be honest, it sounded like a super simple dish as the dish only features butter, roasted mushrooms, and a miso cured yolk. But wow, the past was tender to tooth and rich and creamy! Tajarin pasta is made of egg dough and cut in a thin strands, although slightly wider than spaghetti. I highly recommend getting this if you enjoy creamy pasta.
We also decided to try one of their specials of the night which was the Lobster Tagliatelle. This had a more savoury sauce with lots of fresh herbs. I was surprised by the amount of lobster in this dish and the tagliatelle was also cooked to al dente. This was good, but I personally preferred the Tajarin much more.
Overall, Kissa Tanto offers some very unique dishes as it combines Japanese and Italian cuisine together. Somehow, they make the two cuisines work together! Service was also very attentive and professional but I did feel a bit rushed near the end. I wasn’t aware that the seating only allowed to sit for around 2 hours as there was a reservation after us and we had ate our appetizers a bit slow given I wasn’t very hungry yet. The server had to therefore warn us to give up our seat and to speed things up near the end. Regardless, this is a great spot for a girl’s night out or date night. I would actually suggest coming with more than two people so you can try more dishes as each dish is actually a decent size. I was more than full by the end of the meal.
– Pastas are great and al dente
– Unique flavours of Japan and Italy combined
– Some of the appetizers were a miss for me personally
Price Range: $50-60 per person
1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent
Food: 4.5 Service: 4 Ambiance: 5 Parking: Meter parking along the street Overall: 4.5