“Generation Y”, those individuals born during the last two decades of the 20th century, are conquering pop culture, fashion and music, developing not just careers but lifting income and cultivating expensive tastes, including fine-dining. ZONA is an excellent example of this generation’s hunger for great design and exquisite foods.
Being located on the Buda side by the river bank near Chain Bridge, ZONA’s view of the Danube is one of the best for romance; magnificent and unobstructed. The renovation of Lánchíd utca especially has elevated this area into one of the favourite paths for townsfolk on a Sunday stroll. ZONA itself, with its glass façade that allows a clear peek on the stylish and inviting interior, is already an eye-catcher from the outside.
The name of this posh little dining destination is inspired by the design concept, consisting of two zones. On the one side, the bar zone has cooler, darker but elegant colours in contrast to the eating zone on the other side, covered in light wood and different shades of green. The restaurant’s name also refers to the so-called “zone-sized” portions typical of ZONA’s kitchen. The term derives from Hungarian cafeterias and describes a portion of food that is conveniently filling but not too stuffing. But don’t worry, nobody will be left hungry in ZONA.
It compensates for this moderation in the size of a dish by offering sophisticated menu compositions of up to six courses. These elaborate and affordable menus that exactly balance all courses to each other are ZONA’s strong suit. This specialisation also explains the otherwise minimalistic menu where the only reliable constant is change: only a few selected starters, desserts and main dishes make it to the menu list that is changed and freshly printed twice a day.
Among these are unusual or surprising combinations and exclusive delicacies. Of course you will find fine-dining classics such as foie gras or truffles but also such fine-dining exotics as baked pork leg. Chef Krisztián Huszár draws his inspiration from the experiences he gained with Japanese and Basque cuisine.
For those not familiar with the Baldaszti group to which ZONA belongs: their owners themselves were born as part of Generation Y – a generation known for its love of stylish design. No wonder that for the furnishing and decoration of ZONA’s interior a whole team of designers was hired. ZONA is a product of their joint creative enthusiasm and is packed with classy details such as the eucalyptus branch decorating every table.
Or ZONA’s water bottles: a hundred years ago these might have still been hanging from an infusion stand in a hospital. Nowadays they are repurposed to keep diners at ZONA’s tables well-hydrated. The water is on the house, continuously refilled and carbonated at the bar instead of travelling hundreds of kilometers to be delivered in a plastic bottle. This is one of ZONA’s contributions to sustainability, a value that is held high at the Baldaszti group. Even the glasses you drink the water from are recycled wine glasses.
One quick glance at the wine list and the question pops up: “When did red wine lose its charm?” Because in ZONA, contrary to most fine-dining destinations, the different white wines easily outnumber the reds. But as Nóra Kovács from the Baldaszti management assures us, this has less to do with setting a new trend but more to do with the light and creamy cuisine.
“Of course you can always order a red but for most of the courses we prepare the chief can recommend a white wine that goes even better with the food,” she says. ZONA’s selection of wines includes, next to some Hungarian, French and German evergreens, a number of more exclusive limited-edition wines and special pálinkas. Especially during evening hours when you can see the fully illuminated Chain Bridge from the windows, ZONA has the feel of a proper posh wine bar.
If you want to enjoy a great dining experience that stimulates not just your taste buds but your aesthetic senses as well, you are exactly right here. You want to take a selfie and make your friends jealous? ZONA provides the perfect stylish background because this is a place where high demands are celebrated.
Soups, starters: HUF 2,500-3,900
Mains: HUF 5,500-7,500
5 or 6-Course-Dinner: HUF 14,900 / 17,900
Desserts: HUF 1,800