Last Update
Oct 9th, 2019

Il Mulino

1800 E Sunrise Blvd
Fort Lauderdale FL, 33304
(954) 524-1800
Overall Rating
2.3
Food
Service
Ambiance
Value
Last Review
10/08/2019

Details

Hours: 7 Days 11:30am-11pm, Lunch Daily til 4pm
Dress Code: Casual
Parking: Private lot
CC: Yes
Alcohol: Full Bar
Outdoor: No
Reservations: No
Delivery: No

Pros

Extensive Lunch Menu
Decent Food

Cons

Inconsistent Food
Smaller Portions, Higher Prices
Small Parking Lot
Bad Location

Critic's Review

I felt like salmon today, so I made a run to Il Mulino. Even at 2:30p, the small back parking lot was full, so I had to park in the street. 75 cents more than I anticipated. Inside, they've completely remodeled with a lot of big circular booths. I hate these things; I guess they're good if you're a party of 6, but for small parties they're just obnoxious. They used to have lots of comfortable booths; today there was only 1 right by the door. I didn't initially want this, but the alternative was the dreaded bench seating in the back.

I had a lovely view of the fork on Sunrise Blvd.

The first thing I noticed is that they don't have the current menu on the website. The salmon is now $15.95, $3 more than the last time I had it.

I ordered iced tea and opt'ed for the regular rolls instead of the garlic rolls. I didn't really want the bread, but it smells good. I buttered it up and took 1 bite.

Music here is pretty low. Curtis Harding. Marco Calliari. Benign stuff. It took 15 minutes for the salmon to come out.

Clearly I was horrified by this. A dried out piece of fish on a lettuce leaf? Seriously? The last time I had this it came with a lemon sauce with capers. I just sat there looking at it. When my server came by I mentioned to her that was wasn't thrilled with the dish.

Me: "The last time I got this it came with a nice sauce and capers"
Her: "Oh, you want it Piccata Style? You have to ask for that"
Me: "I didn't see that as an option on the menu"
Her: "It's not on the menu. You just have to ask for it"
Me: "OK"

She took it away and brought it back 5 minutes later.

This was more like it. Still had the crust on top, but at least some liquid; the sauce also works with the broccoli.

It was a skinny piece of fish. Barely enough for lunch.

The sauce made the dish edible, but overall the experience was lacking. Over $23 with tip for this. Not the deal it used to be.

Conclusion

You walk into a restaurant to have something you had and liked before, and you get a remodeled restaurant and a dish that isn't nearly as appealing. Who wants a piece of baked fish with no sauce? Plus the $12.95 lunch deal is now a $23 lunch, which is no better than any other place in the city.

I don't like the new decor; they've changed the place from a comfortable, casual place with mediocre, fairly priced food into a froofy place with barely edible food. Another place crossed off the list in Fort Lauderdale.

Review 3/22/17

Il Mulino is a nice place to have lunch in Fort Lauderdale. That's all I can say. It's nicer than eating in a pizzeria. I've been here many times; today I needed supplies from Trader Joe's so I decided to stop in. Initially I was thinking about the Salmon I had here a few years back. No eggplant Parm today.

At 2pm the place had it's usual sparse after lunch crowd, so getting a booth was no problem. I ordered an Iced Tea right away and tried to decode their lunch specials. Their specials are very weird and generally stink. Some sort of "lunch box" specials and 2 uninspiring dishes. I relegated to the regular lunch menu, which is different than the one on their new website (their old website was much better). They now serve the salmon with a side of spaghetti, which is totally ridiculous. I asked about the "fish of the day" francese, which turned out to be Basa; the cheapest fish on the planet. My server tried to sell it, to which I replied "I know what it is. I'll need a few more minutes". Bah on Basa.

She brought out the Iced Tea without extra lemon but she remembered as she dropped it off and promised to get it for me.

Meanwhile, I ordered the Chicken Francese, which comes with roasted potatoes and broccoli.

Music is Italian, not bad with Guilermo Palma and the Bluebeaters leading the pack.

Lunch comes with rolls; get the rolls without the garlic. They just pour some jarred garlic over them to appeal to cretins but it's really quite bad. The plain rolls are light and airy and are just fine with butter.

The main course came out in 11 minutes.

They changed the potatoes; these were more like steak fries. The broccoli was undercooked but edible; the chicken was dry and the sauce a bit too gloopy (and not lemony enough). Typical Il Mulino Fort Lauderdale food. A satisfying lunch but hard to recommend regardless.

A refill was delivered before I was finished with my first glass.

Note to servers: If someone orders iced tea with extra lemon, they probably want it with the refill also. Nicely done.

Conclusion

Il Mulino, not to be confused to it's namesake in NYC, is on par with Carrabba's. A nice restaurant with edible food that doesn't leave you pining to try something else on the menu. A very typical Fort Lauderdale eatery.

Review 5/13/15

I had to stay close today, so I thought I'd stop in at Il Mulino for a comfortable lunch. They have a reasonable lunch menu which they serve until 5pm and it's usually pretty dead after 2pm. Today was no different.

Sometimes it's hard to tell on a phone if the picture is clear; sorry about that. I ordered an Iced Tea and tried to find something other than Eggplant or Salmon on the menu, but I couldn't. No veal or chicken dishes without breading; they don't have Chicken Francese at Lunch anymore. So I just went with the eggplant.

My server asked if I wanted Rolls, and I said I did. She didn't ask if I wanted Garlic or Plain; I've had them both ways.

Music plays at a pretty good level: Al Jarreau, Freddy V and Ronnie Laws play while I wait. They have some big bottle of well-known wines displayed as decorations.

The eggplant came out in 4 minutes. No rolls.

It "looks" exactly the same as it has for 6 years since I first had it. The speed that it came out was a concern; you can't cook anything that fast. I cut it to take a look and tasted the pasta.

The pasta was bland (SALT the water people) and the sauce was a funny kind of sweet; sugary sweet rather than garlic and onions sweet.

The eggplant was too heavily breaded; this reminded me of the first time I had it, when I was wholly unimpressed. When you bread eggplant too heavily, it tastes like you're eating bread. Even that can be ok if it's tasty bread; good breading freshly cooked in garlic and oil can be pretty good, but this was generally tasteless.

I got 2 refills on my iced tea, but never did get any rolls. I didn't want to ask for them again since I probably wouldn't do more than just take a taste.

Conclusion

This place is following a different path that most other restaurants in Fort Lauderdale. While their dinner prices are up $1 in the last 4 years, the Eggplant Parm is actually $1 less; it used to be $11.95 and now it's $10.95. Except you used to get soup and Garlic Rolls; and now you just get the rolls if your server bothers to get them for you.

The food I had today was not good. When I first came here I wondered why anyone liked it. Since then, I've had some good food. Today wasn't one of those days.

Review 2/14/15

I didn't feel like drive too far today; I got a late start and didn't want to hit Friday holiday traffic late in the afternoon. For some reason I though of Il Mulino. One thing about this place is that they don't have anything like Chicken Scarpariello; an italian dish that fits my diet. I checked the menu and noticed that they had Salmon Piccata; that's what I was going to have.

The first thing to know is that this place is not related to Il Mulino in New York City, which is one of the best Italian restaurants anywhere. This is just the Fort Lauderdale version of an Italian restaurant with a common name.

The last time I came to this place at 3pm I was the only one in the place, but today there were a few tables. On Valentine's day; a few savvy dudes taking their girls to lunch to save a few bucks.

It's a pretty nice place; before there were a lot of physically nice restaurants this was one of the nicer ones; now this type of decor is a dime a dozen.

Iced Tea came with plenty of lemon wedges; I'm off Splenda but they don't have it here so you'll have to bring your own.

You can get the drippy garlic rolls here (see previous review); I went plain this time just to see what they're like. I'm not eating bread, so I only took 1 bite. Decent rolls. Obviously the butter tubs indicate the quality here is not NY city like in any way.

I got soup with my Eggplant Parm last time; the salmon doesn't include anything. I'm not really sure what the deal is with the soup; the menu has never said that anything comes with soup. All I know is that I got it last time.

The place is pretty low key. I'd call the service competent but dour. The servers don't seem to enjoy their job here.

When they brought out the salmon, I was impressed with the portion.

This is more than twice the food than I got at the Lobster Bar Sea Grill for $6 less.

While I'm not crazy about capers; this is a nice way to prepare salmon. I also like being able to dip the broccoli and the potatoes in the butter sauce. This is a terrific dish from head to toe. I even snuck a few of the potatoes. For $12.95 it's also one of the best values in town. You'll pay $25 for this on Las Olas and you won't get the potatoes.

Il Mulino. It's not Il Mulino NYC, but it's a helluva good value.

Review 9/9/11

It seems that there's an Il Mulino in every city; it translates to "the mill"; I guess there's a lot of mills in Italy? Anyone from NY knows about Il Mulino in Greenwich Village; it's one of the most noteworthy, and expensive, restaurants in the city.

This location is nothing like the one in New York. The first time I came here I was wholly unimpressed with the food. The Sun-Sentinel had just published the recipe for their eggplant parmesan, a personal favorite. I sat at the bar in an empty restaurant; the spaghetti was rubbery, the sauce bland and the eggplant overbreaded.

2 years later I thought it was time to give them another try. I've been to 400 restaurants or so since, and I have a much better idea now of the balance of quality in this town. It's not fair to compare restaurants down here to say, Il Mulino in New York.

This time I got a table. It's a pretty nice restaurant, with granite tables and comfortable booths. The place is pretty roomy so you're not 4 feet from some gabby group of 4. There's pleasant music playing. I asked for a Pellegrino, but my server said they had "something else". I ordered an Iced Tea.

First they brought out the garlic rolls, which are lathered with garlic. I'm not a huge fan of this type of roll, but they weren't as messy as some I've gotten. The rolls themselves where mostly air; not worthy of the calories.

The soup came out instantaneously; it reminded me of the soup I'd gotten at Carlucci's

It had more stuff than the Carlucci version; it was certainly loaded with beans (this would almost bite me later, but I digress). Not great, not bad. When I was done with the soup I just pushed it to the end of the table and settled in with the NY Post Mobile while I waited for the next course. A runner brought the eggplant out shortly thereafter; but he had no interest in taking my empty plates.

Now perhaps in 2 years my palate has settled, or maybe I've just come to terms with the fact that Fort Lauderdale isn't Manhattan, but this wasn't bad. The sauce was better, and there was more of it. There was more cheese also; the eggplant was a bit overbreaded; about the same as Carlucci's. But all in all pretty good. The spaghetti was just right also; I have to say that this was pretty good.

Going back and looking at the pictures from Carlucci's; this was very similar. Carlucci's gave me more of everything for less money, but it's not quite as nice a place. Il Mulino feels more like a restaurant.

The tab for all of this was $18 before tip; not cheap but a lot of food.

6/15/2009

Il Mulino is a modern, attractive space with an extensive menu and a nice, black granite bar in the rear. There are comfortable booths as well as tables, with soft but modern music playing. The bar has a TV with news during the day and sports in the evening.

Your entree includes "garlic bread", which are actually rolls doused with chopped garlic. Its a bit much on the garlic, and you'e sure to go home with garlic on your hands. The rolls are ok, but I prefer the garlic baked into some butter personally.

I've heard about their eggplant parmesan, and as an eggplant parmesan aficionado, I thought I'd give it a try. It comes with spaghetti and truth be told; its a massive portion. I'd say a double portion of pasta and 4 large slices of eggplant.

As for the taste, I'd have to said its highly overrated. The eggplant is too heavily breaded, and there's not enough sauce or cheese. Another issue is the sauce itself, which is bland and completely uninteresting. And we all know what spaghetti with bland sauce is; a big waste of calories and time. I'm continually amazed how an Italian Restaurant with bad sauce can survive, but then again, this is South Florida.

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