Playful dining at Atlas

An award-winning fine dining restaurant with a playful menu that dares diners to try something new and takes its inspiration from around the world

Atlas 3 v4

Where

Waterfront Precinct

Location

36 Customhouse Quay

Contact

+64 471 1313

Few restaurateurs would dare to dream of winning a place on Cuisine’s annual top restaurants list just three months after opening. Then again, Atlas was only technically the new kid on the block when it earned this unlikely honour in 2019.

The upscale inner-city restaurant sprang from the ashes of recently closed Whitebait, with executive chef James Pask still at the helm. For Atlas, Pask has created both an à la carte menu and a seasonal tasting menu, which changes weekly. New Zealand ingredients are at the forefront, but he’s not averse to taking inspiration from all around the world, hence the restaurant’s name.

Atlas 1
Atlas restaurant staff
Atlas 2
Atlas

Although Atlas is undeniably fine dining, there’s nothing staid or traditional about its menu. Instead, there’s a vein of playfulness running through it, and almost a dare for diners: go on, give this a go, you won’t regret it. The black garlic, passionfruit and bitter chocolate concoction from Atlas’s early dessert menu, for example, was an adventure for the tastebuds, the kind of dish you wanted to tell people about for weeks afterwards.

Wine is an important part of Atlas’s offering, to say the least: the wine list features 400 options, and there are another 400 or so in the cellar, ready to be rotated in as the seasons change. Both New Zealand and international wines have a strong showing, and about 90% are organic or biodynamic. Don’t know where to begin? The staff are brimming with knowledge and happy to match-make you with a wine that suits your tastes.

As the wine flows and the conversations get a bit more animated, you might notice you’re not having to shout over other diners. That’s because of the angled acoustic panels on the ceiling, which absorb sound and stop it from unpleasantly bouncing around the room.  

We’re trying to achieve food that’s fun, exciting and challenging. We started out with some crowd favourites from Whitebait, but now Atlas is evolving and showing its true face

James Pask - Executive Chef

Atlas restaurant interior dining

Other design features that will catch your eye?  The elegant pendant lights overhead, the art deco lamps on each table and the clever cutlery blocks (which not only look stylish but also mean staff don’t have to run around laying out new cutlery for each course).   

Lush furnishings and romantic lighting make Atlas a prime dinner-date spot, but don’t forget it’s open for lunch Wednesday–Friday, too, with a special shared banquet menu that also changes weekly. Just make sure you have an excuse prepared for your boss – trust us, you’ll want to make this a long lunch.

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