Where is the remote and luxurious island featured in The Menu?

The Menu filming location was mostly based in Savannah, Georgia but is that where Hawthorne actually is?

The Menu
(Image credit: HBO Max)

If you haven't watched The Menu yet, the critically praised dark comedy horror film starring Ralph Fiennes, Anya Taylor-Joy and Nicholas Hoult, among other stars, you should immediately add it to your must-see list.

Fair warning, though: you'll have plenty of questions to ask following the screening, including The Menu ending explained and queries about The Menu filming location. Specifically: where is the remote and luxurious island featured in the film, where the restaurant Hawthorne is supposedly based? 

The movie is mostly based inside Hawthorne, a super-luxurious restaurant opened and operated by chef Julian Slowik (Ralph) on a remote island only accessible via boat.

The Menu

(Image credit: HBO Max)

The show's production designer, Ethan Tobman revealed to Condé Nast Traveler (opens in new tab) that shooting was supposed to take place in Scotland but the COVID-19 pandemic forced the production team to change its plans. 

As a result, the majority of filming took place in an area right by Savannah, Georgia, and nearby locations like Fort McAllister State Park, Driftwood Beach and Atlanta's World Trade Center, according to Decider (opens in new tab).

As for Hawthorne itself, the filming took place on Tybee Island, a barrier island and small city near Savannah.

"Tybee Island was beautiful - and it did have a very long path through a very long field, leading to a very old barn," Ethan said to Condé Nast Traveler. "The symmetry of that landscape inspired us. But we wanted to use Brutalist, Nordic architecture in the plot; I call it organic modernism, where the shapes are inspired by nature—rock walls or sweeping glass bay windows that infer the drama of the elements. So we covered the path with white limestone, and lined it with Brutalist lamps, and covered all the brickwork with concrete. We basically built the façade of the restaurant as well as enough hallway to film actors going through a door and walking into the 'esophagus' of the restaurant - but then they'd walk into a blue screen. The interiors were shot on a stage ."

WHAT IS THE MENU ABOUT?

The Menu, which originally premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September of 2022 to much praise, focuses on celebrity chef Julian Slowik (Ralph), who operates his exclusive restaurant, Hawthorne, on a private island.

Watchers are immediately introduced to a group of elite guests who are invited to dine at Hawthorne for a whopping $1,250 per person (yes, that's a commentary on our relationship with "must-try" restaurants all around the world). 

Among the invited diners is a food critic with her editor, a movie star with his personal assistant, a wealthy couple, a number of business partners, and Nicholas' character Tyler, who initially signs up for the experience with a specific guest but ends up taking Margot (Anya), an escort that he hires after his girlfriend breaks up with him.

Fans immediately realize that the entire experience is not peaceful and certainly not as straightforward as a regular evening at a restaurant usually is. In fact (spoiler alert!), most guests quickly realize that the night will end in their own deaths. 

HOW TO WATCH THE MENU

The nearly two-hour-long The Menu is currently available for streaming on HBO Max so anyone with a subscription can start watching the captivating movie immediately.

The Menu

(Image credit: HBO Max)

This means that if you are in the UK, you may struggle to access the show unless you have a VPN (a virtual private network). VPNs are a popular way to access TV shows only available in other countries, and many are easy to get.

If you're already confused, don't panic - we've got you covered. Our sister site, TechRadar, has put every major VPN service to the test to save you the hassle of sifting through the web yourself. They've rated ExpressVPN as the best - and here's why.

In their words, "It’s compatible with all of your devices, supports most streaming services, and ranks among the fastest. You can even install it on devices like an Amazon Fire TV Stick, Apple TV, Xbox, and PlayStation. So for a one-stop-shop, you can’t go wrong with Express."

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If you've never installed a VPN before, don't worry, it's quick and easy. Just follow these three steps:

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Anna Rahmanan

Anna Rahmanan is a New York-based writer and editor who covers culture, entertainment, food, fashion and travel news. Anna’s words have appeared on Time Out New York, the Huffington Post, Fortune, Forbes, Us Weekly, Bon Appetit and Brooklyn Magazine, among other outlets.