is a hidden gem of Walt Disney World dining.
Il Mulino New York Trattoria
Located in the Swan Hotel in the Epcot resort area, Il Mulino is off the typical beaten path. But for those that find it, it’s often a meal to remember.
Il Mulino is an Italian restaurant modeled after the original and much-lauded Il Mulino in New York City’s Greenwich Village neighborhood. And you see a bit of that in the decor — but you taste a lot of it in the food. Menu items derive from the Abruzzo region of Italy and as such are comprised of an eclectic mix of ingredient from the mountains, the sea, and the pastures.
But origins aside, Il Mulino just serves really good food.
It’s been several years since my last visit to Il Mulino, and in that time, a lot has changed at the Swan and Dolphin Hotels. New dining and drinking spots have opened, there’s a new executive chef overseeing the seventeen (17!!) dining establishments in the two resorts, and the Swan and Dolphin Classic continues to wow with new (and returning) tastes year after year.
The entrance to Il Mulino will see changes in the near future, but inside, the restaurant’s lounge and seating areas are the same industrial-meets-rustic design.
Seating varies from traditional four-tops to large pub-height tables. A grid of windows separates the diners from the open kitchen, giving the restaurant terrific energy.
Table settings are simple but warm.
Even lighting in the open kitchen is warm, letting diners know they’re not just strangers — they’re family.
And what better way to show a family member you care than to feed them?
Il Mulino features traditional Italian courses like Antipasti, Zuppe, Pasta, and more. I was anxious to eat some old favorites and try some new dishes.
We ordered the Insalata Caesar — a classic Caesar Salad. It’s not knocking anyone’s socks off, but if you like Caesar Salad, this one will satisfy.
Salad aside, I knew I couldn’t come to Il Mulino without ordering the Polpette al Forno: a trio of flavorful (seriously!) meatballs. These are herbacious, very slightly sweet, and fully delicious. Do NOT skip the meatballs.
Another favorite from my last visit, the Spaghetti Carbonara (like all the pastas here) is available in a half portion. This is a strategy I recommend for those with small appetites or those who want to try more than one dish. Either way, this buttery, salty Carbonara WAS INCREDIBLE. My husband and I were sharing it, and I’m pretty sure we were fighting the whole time for the larger portion! I’m dreaming about going back for more…so, um, get this on your bucket list.
The first new-to-me dish is Gnocchi Bolognese. These potato dumplings are soft and pillowy — just what you want from gnocchi. The sauce is rich, so while this is delicious, it’s quite heavy. Share this one or get a half order (or come ready to fill up!).
The sleeper hit of the night was the Pollo Fra Diavolo! This dish with chicken, sausage, vegetables, and spicy tomato sauce really packed some heat — and you know I love that! That said, if you are spice-averse, be warned: this is very spicy. That spice does not detract from the flavor at all, but it will keep you on your toes.
This is also a great option for those eating low-carb. While there are some carbs in the sauce and veggies, there’s no pasta here.
This was a delicious and multifaceted meal that did not disappoint at any turn. In fact, I’d order any of these dishes again — even the gnocchi, which I would plan to share or maybe halve and pair with a lighter appetizer or entree.
Nosh or Not?
Say buongiorno to Il Mulino if:
- You love Italian food and want to try arguably the best at Walt Disney World.
- You’re staying at the Swan & Dolphin and want a refined table service meal.
- You’ve got a mission to try all of the many Italian food options in the World.
Try something else if:
- Italian food just isn’t your jam.
- You don’t have time for a table service meal.
- You’re not planning to be in the area of the Swan & Dolphin and don’t want to travel for a meal.
Italian restaurants have easily doubled in number over the past year, with the bulk of them being conveniently located in Disney Springs. (We’re looking at you, Terralina Crafted Italian, Maria & Enzo’s, and Hideaway Tunnel Bar!) But if you can fit it into your schedule, a trip to Il Mulino for terrific Italian food is worth the effort. This is diverse, regional cuisine done exceptionally well.