It’s been a while since we had taken in a dinner at Il Mulino, so let’s head over for some Italian, shall we??
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The upscale restaurant has a reputation for serving some of the best Italian food in all of Walt Disney World. And that makes sense, since it is modeled after the critically acclaimed New York restaurant of the same name.
Since we love Italian food, I thought it was time to head back and see if that opinion still held. After all, with the opening of Via Napoli and Tutto Gusto in Epcot’s Italy Pavilion — and the re-opening of Tutto Italia with a new menu — there is suddenly a little more competition.
We headed there on a recent trip with high hopes that it would be just as delicious as ever!
The vibe of Il Mulino is New York chic. Rather than feeling like you’re in a corner of Walt Disney World property, it seems like you’re a thousand miles away in a cityscape. Clean, modern lines in the bar and throughout the restaurant hint at the urban feel, while exposed beams and brick warm up the space.
While we visited at a fairly quiet time, the bar can be a very gregarious gathering place with the amount of convention traffic that the Swan and Dolphin Hotels see. If you have the chance to stop for a drink here, I’d definitely recommend it! The bartenders have been friendly and entertaining in my experience.
Low, comfortable couches offer a nice contrast to traditional bar seating, and make for a cozy gathering place.
This curious display of food, wine, cooking utensils, and even Champagne greets you as you transition from the bar to the restaurant. It’s kind of fun to wander around it and see what’s here. And you get a foreshadowing of the limoncello that awaits you at meal’s end. More about that in just a bit…
As you pass from the bar into the main dining room, you get more of that industrial-meets-rustic feeling that I told you about earlier. This wonderful, multi-paned glass wall separates the kitchen from the dining room. You see the action, but you’re still a little removed from it.
Clean, contemporary decor continues through the seating areas.
Chairs at the tables along the wall are a little closer together than I like, but are still acceptable.
Il Mulino specializes in dishes from the Abruzzo region of Italy. The menu is multifaceted, covering many of the diverse flavors of this region.
And there’s quite a bit to choose from! The first side of the menu outlines a full range of starters, from Antipasti to Soups. You’ll also find Pizza, Risotto, and Pasta on this page.
One of my favorite things about Il Mulino is that all of the pasta dishes can be ordered in half portions. This is great for guests with smaller appetites — or if you’d just like a little more variety.
Even though the menu does not note it, we were able to order a risotto in a half portion as well.
On the second page you see a full offering of various entrees, but this is where you’ll also find the restaurant’s “Piatti Per Il Tavolo”, or family-style, section.
Items under this heading are available for parties of four or more, and are served in larger serving dishes for the table. Menu items here are priced per person.
We started with a few beverages, of course. My husband tried out the Ommegang Three Philosophers Quadrupel. This poured beautifully in the glass — a snifter! And with an alcohol content of 9.8% you should probably have a designated driver on standby. 🙂
The Belgian-style beer won high marks.
We quickly moved on to our starters. To begin, we were treated to Il Mulino’s complimentary Antipasti Selection of dried, cured Sausage and Eggplant Roasted with Vegetables. Served with two types of bread, this is always a popular starter among guests.
We also ordered the Parmigiano-Reggiano for Two. The large portion of the nutty, rich classic cheese is certainly enough to share.
My husband ordered the Insalata Caesar, which is a traditional version of the classic, prepared with a creamy dressing and croutons. He enjoyed it very much.
I also couldn’t resist once again ordering the Polpette Al Forno — which is to say, Meatballs. This is probably one of my top dishes at Il Mulino. They’re a perfect balance of flavors between savory and sweet, and the texture is just right.
These were gobbled up in no time, and I would absolutely recommend ordering them on your visit!
When it came time to order our entrees, we once again decided to go with half orders to increase the variety factor. Il Mulino features some of my most favorite Italian dishes, and they do great versions of them. So I couldn’t resist trying them here once more.
We started with Risotto Con Funghi, or Risotto with Wild Mushrooms.
You’ve heard me say it before — I’m not a huge fan of mushrooms. Until you put them in an amazing, creamy version of one of my favorite dishes, risotto. And then, they’re my FA-VOR-ITE. This was fantastic, and compared favorably with one of my other favorite versions of the dish served with the filet at Le Cellier.
I also adore the Bucatini Amatriciana here. Il Mulino’s version of this dish, made with a sauce of rendered Pancetta and marinara, is fresh and rich.
The bucatini, which is sort of like a cross between macaroni and spaghetti (I still call it beefaroni!!), traps the flavor of the sauce like no other pasta.
And of course I had to get the Spaghetti Carbonara again! It continues to be highly recommended by fans of this restaurant. Though the sauce COULD still be thicker, the combination of pancetta and onion with all that cream and cheese is still one of the best flavor combos EVAR!
Since I also loved stuffed pastas, we decided to give the Manicotti a try as well. This version is stuffed with ricotta and spinach before it’s covered in a fresh tomato sauce. It’s then broiled to melt the cheese.
This time out, we also decided to try a dish from the Pollo persuasion. The Pollo Aromatico was not only gorgeous, but also flavorful. It was a light, easy dish that offset the heaviness of the rest of our choices.
After our fantastic entrees, we weren’t finished yet. It was time to turn our attention to after dinner offerings. We began by taking a look at the Dessert Menu.
Before we chose a sweet ending to the meal, we went for some after dinner drinks. My husband opted for Scotch.
Frozen desserts sounded particularly refreshing on this hot spring day, so our first selection was the Tartufo. Basically a chocolate bomb, the gelato is enrobed in chocolate before it’s frozen, and then it’s garnished with whipped cream and a thick zabaglione.
I’m not ever a big chocolate bomb fan, usually opting for more saucy desserts. But this was very good, and a nice departure from standard desserts.
When we cut into the Tartufo, we found a macerated cherry! It was a nice complement to the creamy flavors.
We also went for the fresh taste of Le Tre Sorbetti. The lemon, mango, and blood orange sorbets had a creamy mouthfeel that is the hallmark of a good version of this fruity dessert, and the fresh berry garnish was a nice touch.
Interestingly, this dessert was the hit of the evening! It just reminds us to never gloss over that sorbet option on the menu…sometimes it’s just what’s called for after a heavy Italian dinner.
I was very pleased to see that the restaurant continues its tradition of offering a complimentary glass of Limoncello to guests after their meals.
This traditional Italian digestif is extremely strong, but if you like lemon (like moi), you’ll probably love it.
Il Mulino continues to wow with its refined atmosphere, relaxed service, and delicious food. Every dish I’ve tasted here has been fresh and thoughtfully prepared.
It might be tempting to pass up Il Mulino as “just another Italian restaurant” — but if you love really well-made Italian food, it’s definitely worth your time to check it out. I can tell you I’ll definitely be back for more!
Have you dined at Il Mulino? Leave a comment and tell us about your favorite dishes here!