Kissa Tanto is a Japanese-Italian restaurant and bar located in the upper story of a building in Vancouver‘s Chinatown. KISSA, the Japanese word meaning “CAFE”, and TANTO, the Italian word for “A LOT,”- certainly encaptures the marriage between two seemingly unlike cultures to create a “House of Plenty”. 

Through the design, a love story unfolds: Japan the stylish coquette, meets warm and passionate Italy in a 1960’s Jazu Kissa, ‘Japanese jazz bar’. They drink whiskey and listen to jazz records until late in the night. Mid century lamps and fine spirits adorn the bar. Velvety curtains and plush couches provide a homely escape. The bar transcends the couple into their very own private retreat.  


They laugh and share anecdotes, tucked away in one of the booths bathed in a pool of dim lighting. An amorous connection that is natural but unexpected- just like the warm, rich wood and brass textures that soften the pink and peach Japanese upholsteries and draperies.

In a kiss and tell interview with Kissa Tanto’s designer Ste. Marie, she discloses how the design team drew inspiration from Haruki Murakami book covers. The book covers with its typographic art provided the design theme for the restaurant’s floor layout. The ad hoc lines and shapes form unexpected connections regardless of how they are positioned.

The restaurant’s audacious fusion of Japanese and Italian cultures encourage us to make our very own unexpected connections. You never know, we could be greatly surprised!

Photos via Ste Marie