This 80-seat Japanese-Italian restaurant is atmospheric perfection.
Past the faded Chinatown facade and up a narrow set of stairs, there’s a vision so romantic, so complete, it could be a film set: a 1960s jazu kissa (Japanese jazz café) dripping with romance and whisky. The judges were unanimous in their love for gold winner Kissa Tanto. This 80-seat Japanese-Italian restaurant, designed by Ste. Marie Art and Design, is atmospheric perfection: a glossy domed ceiling pearls with light; pink vinyl banquettes invite tête-à-têtes; and modernist tilework is inspired by the cover of a Haruki Murakami novel. A beautifully considered 14-seat bar dominates half the room, reminding diners this is a boozy destination, and perfect decorations (a Noguchi paper lamp, vintage tchotchkes) add heart. Silver goes to another Ste. Marie project, Savio Volpe, for its thoughtful rendition of “Italian farmhouse modern.” Pleated oak wall treatments and quarry tile suggest modesty, but nobody’s fooled: this room is as tailored and sophisticated as it is rustic.