If anyone one is thinking of going to Il Mulino on St Zotique save yourself the trip and the dollars.
I had been to this restaurant dozens and dozens of times before it changed ownership 5 (or more) years ago. The cooking then was simple, inspired and wonderful. When the change of ownership took place I had decided that there was no upside to this and simply avoided the place. There was after all Frank down the street (which has regrettably now closed.)
Good reviews and a recent visit to Il Mulino by my wife persuaded me to give it a try.
We were a group of 8. We made reservations well in advance as I knew the room was small.
We arrived at 8pm this past Saturday night. Our table was an afterthough cramped between sevaral other tables and pillars. It was impossible for the waiters to reach each us.
Flat bottled water was poured without anyone being asked. As it turned out we were charged nearly $100 for this.
We were not offered drinks. A wine list was presented but we were never offered menus. Finally the Maitre D appeared to take our order. He proposed antipasto, risotto and a choice of fish, veal or goat. He highly recommended the goat as a "something we are known for".
Five people chose the goat. 40 minutes later he returned to say there was no goat (we assumed they had sold this to other "more important" patrons) and offered lamb instead. We should have left immediately. We told the Maitre D that we were very disappointed that there was no goat. His response was to never appear anywhere near our table again.
An hour and a half after our arrival two small pizzas arrived, one badly burned. A few olives. The antipasti was a slice of eggplant and a very rubbery scallop. Two pastas appeared instead of the proposed risotto (who knows why). The gnocchi was passable.
The main corses were only remarkable in the fact that when they were served one was missing and appeared only after 5 minutes or so. Of course we all waited so everyone's dinner was cold.
Dessert was served to everyone without anyone being consulted ($12/person). This cosisted of a quarter of a stale lemon tart, a chocolate meringue thing and a scoop of lemon sorbet. The plates this was served on were warm so the sorbet quickly became soup.
All of this cost (wine and service included) $1500 or almost $200 per person. Plus $10 per car at the valet. Nothing exquisite. Nothing memorable. A poor experience. A disgrace.
Go somewhere else.
It makes me sad. I've been treated to meals there (old management) and it was lovely - never cheap, but worth the money as the food was very similar to thoughtful, small, upscale places in Italy. They provided an excellent meal to a vegetarian colleague.
I would like to hear from other recent patrons.
That really is a shame. I love that place – in fact I had one of my most memorable meals that I’ve ever had in Montreal at Il Mulino. (Memorable in a good way that is)
Sounds as though a lot of the problems were waiter-centred. The guy/girl forgot to give you menus, didn’t know what was still available, didn’t provide answers to your questions, probably sent a few wrong orders into the kitchen... But if the food doesn’t even redeem the poor service, then it really isn’t worth it.
By the way lagatta – you mentioned that something about old management. I ate there about three years ago so does that mean I was there under the old or new team? Would be interested to know...
I honestly don't know, Nick, as I haven't been there in about five years. I loved that place too, though it is really outside my budget (also because I scrimp and save to travel - I have the opportunity to cross the Atlantic for work and if possible, try to get in a holiday (I can work from anywhere on my computer). I have had a few memorable meals there, and once treated my mother. It was always by far the best Italian restaurant in the neighbourhood - sadly, good Italian restos are scarce in la Petite Italie. I especially loved the care they gave to vegetable dishes, which is why the vegetarian colleague was so happy there. I do hope they can recover their bearings, and that the dreadful meal in the OP was just a blip.
This review is gut wrenching as I've also had memorable meals there, albeit years ago. I didn't realize it had changed hands; based on this review I won't go back. But it was the [ex]owner of Il Mulino who opened Bottega (Montreal's best pizza), so I guess he took the recipe for outrageously expensive gastronomy with him.
65 Rue Saint-Zotique E, Montreal, QC H2S1K7, CA