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Café Martinique at Atlantis: Champagne and food heaven in The Bahamas

A world-beating list of Champagnes, old vintages of legendary wines and a reinvigorated menu of seasonal, locally-sourced cuisine near to miles of pristine beaches; Café Martinique at Atlantis on Nassau Paradise Island is a must-visit for wine lovers.

This article has been created by Decanter in partnership with Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board.

You’ll hear plenty of swashbuckling tales of pirates and hidden loot from Nassau Paradise Island’s history, but the best treasure these days is found in the kitchens and wine cellars that are fuelling a thriving fine dining scene.

Café Martinique at Atlantis, famous for featuring in the 1965 James Bond film Thunderball, is at the forefront of the food and wine evolution in this enclave of The Bahamas.

It is working to expand its already-sizeable wine list to go hand-in-hand with a new plant-forward, seasonal menu devised by executive chef Alessio Pitzalis, who arrived earlier in 2019.

Champagne list  

There is an enviable list of top Champagnes, whether you want to channel your inner Bond and order a vintage Dom Pérignon or opt for a double magnum of Cristal, a bottle Pol Roger’s top cuvée, the Sir Winston Churchill, or go all out on a nine-litre salmanazar of Taittinger.

‘We are extremely proud of the Champagne section of our wine list,’ said Michael MacDonnell, vice president of food and beverage at Atlantis Bahamas.

‘We currently have over 40 labels to offer our guests and sommelier Donald Hopkins has been working diligently to source additional options.’

That puts Martinique well on the way to achieving its goal of being the premier Champagne destination in The Bahamas.

Champagne and food matching

cafe martinique food

Chef Alessio Pitzalis has introduced an innovative series of plant-based dishes alongside fresh fish and other Mediterranean-inspired fare. Credit: Cafe Martinique at Atlantis.

Pitzalis’ new menu puts a strong emphasis on plant-based dishes and there is a focus on fresh, seasonal cuisine inspired by Mediterranean flavours. Food is sourced locally wherever possible, from salad greens to Bahamian lobster, via relationships with fishermen and farmers.

The launch of the new menu has increased Martinique’s focus on food and wine pairing.

‘We have successfully paired Champagne with 90% of our menu,’ said MacDonnell, who believes that Champagne is ‘grossly underutilised at the dinner table’.

Some of matches that the team has devised include:

  • Krug’s Grande Cuvée Brut with chickpea falafel served with beetroot, feta cream, tabbouleh salad  and roasted lemon.
  • Billecart Salmon Rosé with cured beef carpaccio served with roasted ‘eggplant’ [aubergine] cream, sourdough croutons, mustard leaves and caper salsa verde.

Beyond Champagne: From Lafite 1961 to Sardinian Vermentino

Expanding the Café Martinique wine range has been a key part of the strategy in recent years.

‘We currently house over 300 labels and have plans to exceed 400-450 labels by the end of 2019,’ said MacDonneell, citing work by Hopkins and the resort’s beverage director, Sean Cartwright, to improve the list and upgrade cellar conditions.

‘We have made monumental strides in cellaring, procurement, temperature controls, and service,’ said MacDonnell. There are separate vaults for red and white wines to ensure ideal conditions, with total space for 2,000 bottles.

The team has sought to add more distinctive wines and hidden gems from lesser-known producers, focusing on pairing more wines with chef Pitzalis’ new-look menu. One newcomer has been Jankara Vermentino di Gallura Superiore 2014, at $92, in honour of Pitzalis’ Sardinian heritage.

Expect to see Spain featuring more prominently in the wine vault as the strategy progresses.

But there are a host of classics, too, with a strong focus on Bordeaux, Burgundy and California.

Star vintages like Lafite Rothschild 1961 and Haut-Brion 1959 are there if you want them, as are several vintages of Penfolds Grange spanning 1971 to 2005.


cafe martinique cocktails

Be sure to save space for a cocktail…Credit: Atlantis Bahamas.

For those still going after dinner, a botanical-rich and culinary-inspired cocktail menu is also on offer at the bar.

How to get there

Best of all, Café Martinique at Atlantis is just one of several treasure troves for food and wine lovers on Nassau Paradise Island.

And you don’t need a map to find this place:

Book your direct flight with British Airways

This article has been created by Decanter in partnership with Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board.

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