“In a shabby section of Vancouver’s Chinatown, where the condo developers have yet to encroach, a snazzy awning beckons from a faded jade-coloured building…”
Thus begins the description of Kissa Tanto, which has just been chosen as Canada’s Best New Restaurant by a panel of some of Canada’s most esteemed food critics and restaurateurs.
Opened by Bao Bei’s Tannis Ling, Joel Watanabee and Alain Chow in 2016, the “charmingly eccentric, genre-defying hideaway” impressed Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants judges with its Italian-Japanese fare.
“Led primarily by intuition and his own mixed heritage (his father is Japanese, his mother, Corsican-French Canadian), Watanabe’s whimsical meandering down the East-meets-West noodle trail has unearthed delicate sheets of handmade pasta layered with tender kasu-braised pork and smothered in miso besciamella,” says the announcement on Canadas100best.com. “There is also porchetta-stuffed agnolotti gently swaddled in velvety smoked cream and hit with sour-salty punches of kombu-cured olives. Twisted knots of tortellini swim in a pool of elegantly clarified dashi broth strewn with chewy tendrils of purple seaweed.”
The Westender’s restaurant critic, Anya Levykh, predicted the restaurant’s success in her review last August. “Kissa Tanto is still in its infancy but it’s already showing all the signs of becoming a long-standing star on the restaurant scene and, perhaps, a forerunner of a renaissance for fusion fare.”
Perennial awards favourite Hawksworth was the only B.C. restaurant to make it to the Top 10 list but the province was well represented among the Top 100:
6. Hawksworth Restaurant
14. Kissa Tanto
26. Vij’s Restaurant
33.Cioppino’s Mediterranean Grill
40. Savio Volpe
41. Wolf in the Fog
51. Masayoshi Sushi Bar (tied)
71. Ancora Waterfront Dining (tied)
78. Blue Water Cafe
90. Ask for Luigi
93. La Quercia (tied)
96. Le Crocodile
97. Bearfoot Bistro
The Vancouver judging panel included Gary Ross, Jack Evrensel, Dino Renaerts, Alexandra Gill, Jason Priestly, Rober McCullough and Jackie Kai Ellis.
Vancouver's David Hawksworth, Vikram Vij, Ned Bell and Damon Campbell were on the national judging panel.