Managed by the Hungarian Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic community, Carmel is one of Budapest’s three glatt kosher restaurants. Like Hanna, the other meat restaurant around the corner, it gets liveliest during Shabbat, that is, Friday's dinner and Saturday's lunch. Here too, guests must prepay the meals, each of which costs €25 per person.
During Shabbat, Carmel fills up with joyful orthodox Jews from around the world, both Sephardis and Ashkenazis. The elaborate table settings include an embroidered challah cover, with wonderfully soft challah breads beneath it. To ensure that Carmel follows kashrut, the Jewish dietary laws, a mashgiach—an official supervising rabbi—is present at all times. The meals feature both Middle Eastern and Ashkenazi fare: mezze plates (matbukha, eggplant, hummus, tahini), “Jewish" egg salad, gefilte fish, slow-cooked beef shank, cholent, and babka.
On regular days, Carmel also serves traditional Hungarian dishes like goulash soup and beef stew (pörkölt). Although Carmel can fall short on the culinary experience, some of the dishes, like the mezze and the cholent, are excellent.