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Review: Dinner at Il Mulino New York Trattoria in the Walt Disney World Swan Hotel

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??

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!

Menu Cover

Atmosphere

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.

Bar Area

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.

Bar Seating

Low, comfortable couches offer a nice contrast to traditional bar seating, and make for a cozy gathering place.

Additional Bar Seating

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…

Display in Entryway

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.

Seating

Clean, contemporary decor continues through the seating areas.

Additional Seating

Chairs at the tables along the wall are a little closer together than I like, but are still acceptable.

Eats

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.

Menu -- Appetizers and Entrees

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.

Menu -- Additional Entrees

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.

Beer

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.

Complimentary Eggplant, Meat, and Bread Service

We also ordered the Parmigiano-Reggiano for Two. The large portion of the nutty, rich classic cheese is certainly enough to share.

Parmigiano-Reggiano

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.

Caesar Salad

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!

Meatballs

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.

Half Order Risotto Con Funghi

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.

Half Order Bucatini Amatriciana

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!

Half Order Spaghetti Carbonara

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.

While I think I give Tutto Gusto’s similar Cannelloni a slight edge here, this was still delicious.

Manicotti

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.

Pollo Aromatico

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.

Dessert Menu -- Click to Enlarge

Before we chose a sweet ending to the meal, we went for some after dinner drinks. My husband opted for Scotch.

After Dinner Scotch

We had sampled both the Torta di Cioccolati (amazing) and the Cheesecake Italiano (very enjoyable) on our last visit, so we decided to try a few other selections this time.

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 thickĀ  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.

Tartufo

When we cut into the Tartufo, we found a macerated cherry! It was a nice complement to the creamy flavors.

Chocolate Bomb -- Inside

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.

Sorbet Trio

I was very pleased to see that the restaurant continues its tradition of offering a complimentary glass of Limoncello to guests after their meals.

Complimentary Limoncello

This traditional Italian digestif is extremely strong, but if you like lemon (like moi), you’ll probably love it.

Overall

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!

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16 Comments

  1. James says:

    Great review as normal. Too fancy for my unrefined palette though, I will stick with burgers and nuggets ;)

    Love your website as you are always so helpful and positive. Bookmarked your site on my phone and home computers. Wish you all the best.

  2. Frank Stefanec says:

    One of our favorites. Great food, great staff. Fun atmosphere.
    Frank

  3. Pam says:

    Do they take DDP?

    What a lovely meal…sounds delicious.

  4. Chuck says:

    I was very excited to see this review this morning! I have Il Mulino planned for my vacation that is a couple of weeks away and now I am even more excited to give this place a try!!!

    Great Review AJ!!!

  5. Gloria says:

    I “stumbled” upon this site last year while doing a search for solo travel and have been a dedicated follower ever since. I am continually adding to my list of must try restuarants due to your wonderful reviews. Thank you, AJ.

  6. John says:

    One of our perennial favorites. Nothing better than cocktails at the Il Mulino bar followed by a lengthy meal with lots of wine. We always set it up for a “mid vacation” break from the Theme Park bustle – a nice little adult evening in between all the kid-oriented stuff.

    Next time try the veal saltimbocca – absolutely fantastic.

  7. Frank says:

    I don’t know about DDP, but they do participate in Tables in Wonderland.
    Frank

  8. Chuck says:

    Pam they do not participate in the DDP :(

  9. Katie says:

    My fiance and I ate here Friday of Marathon Weekend (carb-loading on behalf of those we were cheering on :) and loved it! I started with a ‘Na Biretta Rossa (after almost ordering the Quad AJ enjoyed) and it’s easily the best Italian beer I’ve had. We started with the Parmesan and Arancini – both were fabulous. I especially liked that this arancini was meatless whereas the dish at Via Napoli has beef. (I don’t eat beef or pork.)

    For entrees, my fiance enjoyed the Gnocchi Bolognese and if I remember correctly his plate looked as though he licked it clean. I went the get-smaller-portions-and-get-more route and ordered the Penne Rigate and Rigatoni Con Funghi. The Penne was delicious but the Rigatoni was the winner. The combination of the garlic and truffle oil with the kick of the peppers was outstanding. Fantastic meal all around.

  10. Paul says:

    Not on the dining plan? A great reason alone to go. :)

  11. Matt says:

    Il Mulino was probably one of the best meals I have ever had on Disney property. I had the Veal Saltimboca, so incredibly tender.
    My mom had some of the lightest and fluffiest Gnocci’s we had ever tried.
    My wife ordered the parpadalle which were awesome and my dad had an excellent piece of salmon.

    Everything about the Restaurant is excellent.

    The tiramisu was probably the best I have ever tasted…

  12. catherine says:

    DDP is not accepted at any of the Swan/Dolphin restaurants. Some (including this one) do accept Tables in Wonderland.

  13. Keith says:

    Your husband had “Scotch”?…..really AJ, just “scotch”?….that’s like saying you ate “food”.

  14. Sandra says:

    Unfortunately my husband was too sick when we stayed at the Swan to eat here, but maybe on our next trip. Not on DDP, but so far as I know they do accept Restaurant.com coupons, so that would be a way to save a few $. I would check on the website before buying though, in case that has changed.

  15. Anna says:

    We can’t wait to try it! I love the fact they let you get half orders.

  16. Kl burch says:

    Best meatballs ever!!!!!

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