THE BAHAMAS – Paradise Island, Café Martinique // Thunderball (1965)
Café Martinique at the Atlantis Yacht Marina looks all that class, one would wish for in a spy movie. But the restaurant is today mainly a pastiche from its past. Solely its starred chef sets high standards.
Why Bond was here
Bond (Sean Connery) follows the trail of Spectre villain Largo (Adolfo Celi) to the Bahamas. The eye-patched baddie had stolen nuclear warheads – now 007 needs to find out, where they are. Bond first meets his nemesis Largo at the elegant 1960’s casino and restaurant “Café Martinique”. He shows him his “spectre of defeat” in a baccara game – and then invites his chaperonage Domino (Claudine Auger) for a drink and a dance at the Martinique terrace.
The Martinique can be found on Paradise Island, a little hotel and casino filled amusement isle north of Bahamian main island New Providence. Paradise Island is pretty close to the capital Nassau, so it can be either accessed via bridge or a five minute ferry ride. Once on the island, Café Martinique is situated quite in the center as a part of the publicly accessible marina of the Atlantis hotel.
Good to know
Paradise Island once was called Hog Island due to its original inhabitants, before investors turned it into a vacationers dream. The Café Martinique was one of the first restaurants to open, inviting the rich for dinner and drinks. Thunderball catches the atmosphere quite right. Unfortunately the restaurant now looks nothing alike as the original restaurant closed down in the 1990s – and a yellow cupcake-like version of the glorious past reopened within the Atlantis marina. For a more genuine experience, better try the near-by One & Only Ocean Club from Casino Royale. Or for some real kitsch, invest in a day full of fun – and a famous seawall – at the Atlantis Aqua Park.
Café Martinique seems quite right for a cool-off on a sweaty day at the Atlantis marina. The card sets high standards in French cuisine, as famous cook Jean-Georges Vongerichten is accountable for the menu. The better deal, though, is Vongerichten’s second business: Restaurant Dune at the nearby One & Only Ocean Club, brought to fame in Casino Royale.
© 1965 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. and Danjaq, LLC. (1,2), © HuntingBond (3)