Though Il Mulino New York now has a dozen locations around the country, and even the globe, their downtown location is the original. The vibe here is Old World; black-suited Italian waitstaff are solicitous and formal, the dining room is dim and cozy, and prices are unabashedly high. Over the years, many boldface names have graced the intimate dining room including Leonardo DiCaprio, Peyton Manning, former president Bill Clinton, former President Obama, and countless others.
Though it’s just a few blocks from Little Italy, Il Mulino’s menu offers something different from that neighborhood’s ubiquitous (and often disappointing) red-sauce joints. Abruzzo Italian food emphasizes olive oil-based sauces, plus favorites like pasta, polenta, fish, and serious meats. Dishes including whole branzino in garlic and olive oil, costoletta alla Milanese, plus lamb chops and house-made desserts like chocolate cake are enduring favorites. Naples-born executive chef Michele Mazza, who’s worked at the restaurant since 2003 explains, “I take into consideration Abruzzo’s typical cuisine and combine that with my personal culinary touch.”