I really, really wanted to like this place. It has received tons of rave reviews and was voted best new restaurant in Canada in 2016. So I picked Kissa Tanto above all other restaurants in town for my birthday celebration last week.

Boy, what a mistake. I really struggled to like any of the dishes served to us, and my dining companions felt the same. We traded and swapped dishes trying to find something palatable. Nope. This place is supposed to be Japanese Italian Fusion. I’d like to say it is more confusion than anything.

Everything looked so pretty, but the flavours in each dish were muddled or overly salted or just plain bland. On top of that, the “fish collarbone” dish had barely a shred of fish on the bone, and the flavours were muddled. The $45 wagyu steak was just 5.5 oz and was far too salty. I had a bigger and better tasting steak at Denny’s for my free birthday meal.

Kissa Tanto 4

Wagyu steak. Salty steak, bland veggies.

Octopus salad. Overly salted and chewy with daikon and radish slices.

Kissa Tanto 5

Duck agnolotti with grainy mustard sauce. Actually a decent dish.

They only had two desserts on offer, which I would have skipped, but they needed to stick a birthday candle in something (hence the mediocre tiramisu). The candle was free; the tiramisu was not.

There were a few saving graces…the sourdough bread with olive oil and honeyed butter, the cocktails, and the duck agnolotti pasta dish. The room is trendy and hip, kind of like a speakeasy from the 1920s. And the server was friendly and helpful (though she looked perplexed about all the half-eaten dishes).

Would I go back? Nope. Maybe it was an off night in the kitchen. Maybe this season’s menu isn’t the best one they have had to offer. But at $150 per person, it would take a lot of convincing for me to return.

Written by:

@flygyrll is a foodie who’s had the opportunity to travel to over 60 countries. Her passion for travel and food has afforded her a palate and appreciation for world cuisine. She now resides in Vancouver and is systematically working her way through the local food scene as an epicure and hobby blogger.