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Wellington restaurants old and new celebrated in Cuisine magazine’s top 100

Wellington is a foodie’s dream and that vibrant restaurant scene has been reinforced with 24 of the city’s eateries making Cuisine magazine’s top 100.

Robert Kitchin/Stuff

Throughout the year more than 40 food and drink experts assessed restaurants throughout the country, judging food, service, and ambience.

One of the capital restaurants named has been open for just three months.

Atlas on Customhouse Quay opened at the end of August, and  executive chef James Pask said the win was “a testament to the people who work here”.

Ambience and service were key to creating a memorable experience for diners, he said.

“If people feel welcome, they’ll come back.”

Atlas offered a fine dining experience, but aimed to appeal to a range of customers and not exclude the younger market.

Their menu was constantly changing which, Pask said,  was necessary in the turbulent environment that was Wellington’s foodie scene.

Location was important too, he said. Customhouse Quay afforded them dinner guests, but the lunch market was more difficult to corner.

No stranger to the benefits of a good location is a Manners St classic, Great India.

First opened 36 years ago on Mercer St, the Indian restaurant is run by brothers Rakesh and Mitesh Tailor, and is a family business through and through.

It moved to Manners St 26 years ago, and the brothers grew up in the kitchen and waiting tables.

Rakesh’s wife Harshida  said the first thing she learned was how to make butter chicken.

The couple were “very, very stoked” to be named in the top 100, and said the key to success was consistency, and staying true to their style.

The restaurant was one of only two Indian cuisines recognised.

In her announcement of the winners, Cuisine editor Kelli Brett said New Zealand could provide an emotional experience through its food, and although dining in New Zealand was hard to define, the constant was an ability to present excellence across a diverse menu.

“The emergence of more specialty restaurants dedicated to telling a particular story of history and culture through their food has been wonderful to watch this year.”

Kate Green/Stuff