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May 18, 2009 10:57 AM

Il Mulino- Food/Cost- Is it worth it?

I am considering Il Mulino for my mother's birthday as she adores Italian food. We have been to both Babbo and Del Posto already, so I want to try something different. We loved Babbo, however we felt that Del Posto was a big of a letdown based on portions and pricing. I know that Il Mulino is supposed to be extremely expensive but how much more expensive can it be than Del Posto? Also I have heard their portions are quite large which my mother would prefer compared to the " fu fu" type places that will serve you much smaller plates.

I do not mind paying for a great meal, but I want to make sure it IS a great meal. Seems like there are many mixed reviews on here about Il Mulino. People either absolutely love it or they just don't care for it at all- no middle ground.I value Zagat's opinions and they have yet to stray me wrong and they gave it an impressive 28 rating. Reservations seem impossible. Does this place live up to the hype or is it just resting on its laurels of the past?

Right now I have Gotham Bar and Grill booked (yes I know it is not Italian) and I will most likely stick with that. but I like having options to consider. I always do this to myself- beat myself up over where to go many weeks in advance- guess its a kind of "fun" way to torture myself lol.

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  1. Check the archives. I think you'll find the consensus on both parts is no. I wouldn't go near the place; I've been there twice but only eaten there once (neither time on my initiation, and the second time the service and placement of our table right by the kitchen inspired us to walk out). I'd call the time I actually ate there a completely underwhelming experience, and I was glad I wasn't paying. The second time was one of my worst NY restaurant experiences in 35 years.

    1. Hey Steakrules,
      I'm firmly in the camp of Il Mulino lovers. I have been there three times and each time was fantastic. I've not eaten at Del Posto, so will hold off from trying to make any comparisons.

      First things first, you will spend a lot of money, but you will not go home hungry. It's a small place, and no interior designer has stepped foot inside the door for at least 30 years.

      For my money, the food is the best italian in the city. Granted they serve many of the classics which turns off some detractors who are looking for the latest & greatest, but Il Mulino does each dish very well. They will also come to the table prior to ordering and ask if you want antipasti for the table. Some see this as blatant upsell, but the antipasti is phenomenal, if expensive, and it comes out very quickly. Each time I'm there, I always complain that I'm full before I finish ordering my meal.

      All the entrees are very well prepared, and I've never been with anyone who has had one complaint about the food. I recommended it to a colleague to take his wife for their anniversary last month and they have been raving about it ever since. They had previously been to Del Posto, and thought il Mulino to be far and away the better choice.

      I know there are strong opionions out there who will disagree, I've just never had a bad experience, and it has been worth every penny.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Spends Rent on Food

        Thanks guys- This is exactly what I mean. Read the two above posts haha- One hated it and one LOVES it. It seems like if you are okay with the traditional Italian dishes and huge portions (parmigianas, marsalas, pastas) you will be satisfied. If you are looking for innovative cuisine like at Babbo and the new comers or smaller portions then you dislike it.

        1. re: Spends Rent on Food

          I'm with you. always been in the camp that loves it. Last time I posted about it, I got so much vitriol from others though..

          If you get through and get a reservation good luck!

        2. I have been to Babbo, Il Mulino and Gotham. Babbo was excellent as was Il Mulino so I do not think you can go wrong at Il Mulino at all. Gotham was fantastic, but of course not Italian. I also do not know anyone who had a bad time at Il Mulino.

          1. I'm in the camp of those who think the food is terrific but that it's not worth it. However, if you decide to go, be warned that they will try to persuade you that you need much more food than you do which is how the cost can really get out of hand. In addition, while other posters have accurately, IMHO, described the strengths and weaknesses of the food, you should be prepared for tables that are much closer together than at Babbo or DelPosto and, as a result, a physically less pleasant atmosphere. That may not matter to you (or more importantly, your Mom), but if it does, this is probably not the place for you.

            1. I don't think much of the place, way overpriced for average food, you can do so much better. Do they still charge $60+ for specials without mentioning the price. In typical Il Mulino style they made us wait way past our reservation and then jammed us in next to the bar in to small a table. Overall, it was a lousy experience, though it was more then a few years ago. I have attached one of my favorite Il Mulino posts, an old one but a good one. Scroll down to the long post