Managed by the Hungarian Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic community, Carmel is one of Budapest’s three glatt kosher restaurants (two of them are meat, one dairy). Like Hanna, the other kosher meat restaurant around the corner from Carmel, it gets liveliest during Shabbat meals, that is, Friday's dinner and Saturday's lunch (here too, guests must prepay the meals; Friday's dinner at Carmel costs €25 per person).
During Shabbat, Carmel fills up with groups of celebrating orthodox Jews from around the world, usually both Sephardis and Ashkenazis. The formal table settings for the meal include a silver look-alike Kiddush cup and embroidered challah cover (with wonderfully soft challah breads hiding beneath). To ensure that kashrut, the Jewish dietary laws are abided by, an official supervising rabbi (mashgiach) is on the premises at Carmel at all times. The Shabbat meal continues with meze, selections of small, mostly Middle Eastern dishes that include excellent matbukha, eggplant, hummus, tahini, and “Jewish eggs” salad on Saturday. There is also an unremarkable gefilte fish. Both the slow-cooked beef shank (Friday) and the cholent (Saturday) come with a side of roasted chicken thigh, and, though not bad, little else can be said of them. The final course is a babka, which, unfortunately, looks better than it tastes: it's dry and too sweet.
On regular days, a host of traditional Hungarian dishes are also available at Carmel like goulash soup and beef stew. Similar to Hanna, however, Carmel currently falls short on the culinary experience. Unless you're kosher, plenty of other restaurants serve tastier traditional Hungarian fare.