In the mood for a lively Hungarian dining experience? Look no further than 21 Restaurant, a 15-year Budapest staple tucked away in the Castle District.

Whether 21 refers to its address on 21 Fortuna utca, a nod to the modern 21st century, or even the Hungarian card game of Blackjack, this restaurant offers much more than just a meal. It's an invitation to indulge – a little extra food, a touch more volume in your conversations, and perhaps an additional glass of wine compared to your usual dining routine. 

After exploring the charming, winding streets of the Castle District, pause for a memorable occasion at 21 Restaurant. It's perfect for a romantic date, family gathering, business meeting, or simply savouring Hungarian cuisine and warm hospitality at its finest.

A journey through time, honouring tradition and flavours

Once a beloved grocery store, the space spent 17 years transforming into its current state – a haven for both locals and visitors since 2008. A recent renovation has kept the interior's warm elegance (rich blacks and browns), but the kitchen has received a modern makeover, ensuring it stays on top of culinary trends.

Despite the upgrade, the heart of the restaurant remains firmly rooted in Hungarian cuisine. From hearty soups to delectable main courses and delightful desserts, they showcase the very best Hungarian flavours.

Hungarian classics with a modern makeover

This restaurant elevates traditional Hungarian dishes with a fresh, 21st-century twist. Their signature dishes come in charming red pots, like the classic beef goulash soup, farm chicken broth, and Fisherman's soup with thick-cut matchstick noodles (‘gyufatészta'). High-quality ingredients, including red peppers and premium cuts of meat, are a hallmark of their cuisine. Hearty potatoes and house-made noodles round out these comforting bowls, alongside sourdough bread baked in their own bakery.

For a truly seasonal experience, try their ever-changing board menu. We indulged in the white asparagus velouté, a celebration of spring. This creamy, slightly tangy sauce is poured tableside over salty-smoked salmon, creating a perfect harmony of flavours. A vibrant parsley oil adds a fresh, springy touch, while toasted green asparagus spears, seasoned with butter, thyme, and white wine, provide a delightful textural contrast.

The Hortobágy chicken pancake is a delightful reimagining of a classic dish. The chicken filling is lighter and more delicate, while the fried exterior boasts a satisfying crispness. The accompanying sour cream and paprika sauce remain a comforting touchstone.

A true star of the menu is the Tokaj wine-infused foie gras pâté. This decadent dish is paired with a spiced apple chutney and toasted homemade brioche. Fresh strawberries add a vibrant spring counterpoint. The interplay of flavours – ginger, mustard seed, and onion – creates a captivating symphony of sweet, salty, and sour notes. For the best experience, savour each element together on a piece of the crispy brioche.

The veal stew takes a modern turn with a creamy mascarpone and parmesan risotto base. This indulgent creation is balanced by a classic cucumber saladrefreshing, crisp, and lightly seasoned with lemon and white wine vinegar. The salad perfectly complements the richness of the stew and the creamy risotto.

Their take on the classic chicken Kiev features a pounded chicken breast filled with flavourful butter-cheese-herb stuffing. The crispy exterior is achieved with a light egg and breadcrumb coating, perfect for the warmer months. Grilled romaine lettuce adds a refreshing touch, while a zesty citrus dressing elevates the accompanying vegetable side dish.

Experience the essence of summer with the perfectly cooked sous vide pork tenderloin. Infused with garlic and thyme, its tenderness is unmatched. Served alongside a traditional Hungarian lecsó (a vibrant vegetable stew), this dish celebrates the season's bounty without unnecessary frills. Confit potatoes offer a comforting side and a glass of fine red wine completes the experience.

One of our dessert favourites will be available all summer long. The cottage cheese dumpling is a must-try for dessert lovers! These dumplings are light as a cloud, comparable to cream cheese. Delicate orange and lemon notes create a delightful flavour profile, while a strawberry-rhubarb dressing adds a touch of tang. Honey-lime sour cream provides a smooth counterpoint, and toasted panko breadcrumbs bring a satisfying crunch.

Indulge in the company's own handcrafted Zuki ice cream, free from artificial additives and flavour enhancers. Choose from classic flavours like chocolate, raspberry, and vanilla, and customize your creation with fruit compote, chocolate sauce, or a scoop atop a slice of Somló sponge cake or Dobos torte. The homemade, crunchy honeycomb toffee adds a captivating element – both visually stunning and a delightful textural contrast with its caramel notes.

A toast to Hungary

21 Restaurant champions Hungarian wines, offering an extensive list featuring unique specialties. Their knowledgeable staff is happy to recommend perfect pairings for your meal. Explore pálinka from Gyula, a traditional Hungarian fruit brandy, or discover their selection of popular liqueurs and spirits.

Beer enthusiasts rejoice! 21 Restaurant partners with Fóti Brewery to offer Spíler craft beers. Choose from sour cherry, Witbier, dark, and lager varieties, all presented in unique, clasp-fronted bottles with modern labels.

21 Restaurant welcomes both Hungarian regulars and international visitors. Their innovative approach combines traditional dishes with 21st-century culinary techniques, creating an experience you won't want to miss. Soak up the sunshine on the terrace and savour the summer!

Contact details

21 Restaurant

Source: Zsidai 40

(Cover photo: Polyák Attila – We Love Budapest)