Dinner at Il Mulino New York Trattoria (May 2012 Trip)
NOTE: See the beginning of this trip report for our ratings system
Background: When deciding on our first night dinner, I considered eating at the Flying Fish Cafe right there at our hotel, the Boardwalk. However, with a 6:15 p.m. flight arrival time and the new reservation cancellation policy, I thought it wise not to take a chance on missing our ADR and being charged the $10/pp fee. The good news though is that there are many other dining options available in the area of the Boardwalk/Epcot Resorts which do not follow the new policy. Some of these are the restaurants at the Swan & Dolphin hotels. After discussing these options, we decided to try Il Mulino at the Swan for dinner on our first night. Not only was I looking forward to trying a new restaurant, but I thought it would be a safe bet for us food-wise since we all like Italian food…I am half Italian so I think it’s in our blood. An added bonus was that I learned that Il Mulino specializes in food from Italy’s Abruzzi region, the area of Italy where my grandparents were from. Three years ago the three of us plus my sister and niece did a Food & Wine Tour in this area and absolutely loved the food.
Our ADR at Il Mulino was not until 9:15 on a Tuesday night. There weren’t many people in the lounge, which you walk through to get to the restaurant. And there were even less people dining in the restaurant, so we were seated immediately upon check-in. A common complaint in the reviews I’d read about Il Mulino was that it was very loud, but this was not an issue since there were only a few other diners and none were seated near our table.
Here are a few of our pictures of the nearly empty restaurant:
As you can maybe tell from the pictures, Il Mulino has a pretty, but casual atmosphere with light-colored wood floors and dark colored tables and chairs. A long wall (shown in the picture) with frosted glass windows is the only barrier between the dining room and the kitchen.
And here are a couple of snapshots showing parts of their current menu:
Our server soon brought us these…
Bread Basket and Complimentary Antipasti Dish
The bread basket contained slices of ordinary Italian bread, but also had focaccia bread with red pepper flakes (which gave it some spiciness). The antipasti was a tasty mixture of roasted eggplant and I think I remember tomatoes and parmesan cheese (my notes just say eggplant). Also on the plate with the eggplant appetizer were a few slices of Italian salami.
Allison and I looked over the wine list but couldn’t decide which to order so took the easy way out and both had one of these…
The Il Mulino Bellinis were a mixture of fresh Peach Puree, Prosecco, Peach schnapps and Bacardi rum and were quite good.
For an additional appetizer, Allison and I shared an order of calamari.
Calamari Fritti – Lightly Fried Calamari with a Spicy Marinara Sauce
This contained both rings and tentacles, which were lighted breaded and fried. Emily will not touch any kind of seafood and thought this was especially disgusting when we told her what it was, however Allison and I enjoyed it very much.
So far so good…but now for the entrees.
For her main course, Emily had one of their pizzas.
Margherita Pizza with Tomato Sauce, Basil and Buffalo Mozzarella
This was good, however would have been better with a little less garlic. It seemed to overpower all the other ingredients of the pizza.
I chose a pasta dish, and following the advice of several reviews I’ve read I just got a 1/2 order.
1/2 Order of Manicotti – Baked Pasta stuffed with Ricotta and spinach with a tomato sauce
Unfortunately this did not taste nearly as good as it looked. Although the cheese and spinach filling was very good, most of the pasta shell was hard and chewy. Very disappointing! And in case you were wondering, a full order of manicotti was $24, while the 1/2 order was $14. For me, this was definitely not even worth $14.
NOTE: Initially I would have given this a Mr. Smee rating, but after looking at my receipt and seeing that I paid $14 for it I downgraded it to the evil Captain. ARGH!!!
Allison also chose to have pasta for her entree, and followed my lead and got a 1/2 order.
1/2 Order of Gnocchi Bolognese – Potato Dumplings with Meat Sauce
This was probably the best of the three entrees, however we would only give it a GOOD rating. The gnocchi were well-cooked (not mushy) and the meat sauce was fine. So yes this dish was good, but we have had better. Oh and this was $15.00 for a 1/2 order, or $24 for a full order.
So at this point of our meal, our entrees had been rather underwhelming and we were all feeling a little disappointed by our first meal of the trip. I thought we would just cut our losses and call it a night but when our server offered dessert, Emily asked what kind of gelato they had. Emily is a big, big fan of gelato ever since she tried it for the first time during our trip to Italy. Not being able to pass up a chance to have gelato, she ordered this…
Gianduja Gelato (aka Hazelnut and Chocolate)
This got a solid GOOD rating from Emily.
So of course, Allison and I couldn’t just sit there and watch her eat her gelato, so we decided to share this dessert…
Tiramisu – Layered Espresso and Coffee Liqueur infused Lady Fingers coated with Marscapone Cream
And I’m so glad that we did because it was delicious…the highlight of our meal! So thankfully our meal ended on a high note.
Oh, I almost forgot this one last thing…
Allison with her Complimentary Glass of Limoncello
We had tried limoncello during our Italy trip and had not liked it. Which brings to mind a funny story. We were all served a small shot-size glass of limoncello at the conclusion of our first dinner in Italy. Being unfamiliar with limoncello, we each picked up our glass and took a small taste-testing sip. Well, except for Allison that is (she had just finished her first year at college so was familiar with drinking shots ), who picked up her glass of limoncello and downed it in one gulp! The looks on all our faces (both hers and ours) was priceless…something we will always remember. But anyway, since this was a freebie we decided to give it another shot…so to speak. Well, I can now confirm that we are not fans of limoncello, too sweet for Allison and too lemony for me. But it was fun to try it again and it brought back a wonderful memory of our first taste of limoncello.
So our overall rating for this meal was: GOOD, BUT NOTHING SPECIAL
Though we are glad that we tried it, we probably won’t be returning any time soon. There are just too many other options in the Epcot Resort area that we like better.