I’ve been living on Radu Voda Street, in Unirii neighborhood, for about 5 years now. In all this time, I probably passed by Il Mulino about 1000 times. Finally, this Friday evening, I decided to go in! I had done a bit of detective work before and discovered it’s actually an Italian people’s favorite! Well that settles it – I’d also like to eat what the Italians eat!
So I went there with Vlad. I didn’t tell you this so far, but Vlad is the one who transformed me into a logo. So you could say he’s the other half of Unimpressed Celia.
But ok, coming back to the story… So we got there and noticed there was only one table which was busy. Usually this isn’t a good sign. But we still decided to sit down at a table in the first room, where they also had the pizza oven. Here, the external wall is made of glass and you can see through it in the inner courtyard. The courtyard was empty now, but I think in summer it’s nice to have lunch there.
“I’d also like to eat what the Italians eat!”
After looking at the menu, Vlad decided to get the Spaghetti Carbonara (30 lei) – he’s a big Carbonara fan! And this was also the ultimate test for me – I usually say that, if the Carbonara is good, then everything is good! This is because it’s a tricky recipe and you need to really know how to make it. For me, I got the Bucattini all’Amatriciana (29 lei). As for desert, we decided to see how the pasta is first, and, if it’s good, also get the Tiramisu (18 lei).
After ordering, the waitress brought us some breadsticks on the house, which were warm and crispy. We are them instantly - we were very hungry. As we were waiting for the food, we started discussing about the place. To be fair, the restaurant does not look spectacular. At all. But then I was thinking of actual places in Italy where I ate the best and realized that they looked exactly like this one. So the restaurant is actually pretty authentic. A lot of wood, nothing very pretentious and some details which initially seem off, but actually add up to the overall Italian charm. Also, there was some Italian music from the ‘90s playing in the background. Like Eros Ramazotti. Nice.
As we were waiting, more people arrived. Some stayed for dinner, some were only there to pick-up food, saying hi to the restaurant staff as if they were old friends. Aaaand I also heard some people speaking in Italian around us! I really felt like in a small Italian town, eating at the restaurant around-the-corner.
And then the food arrived. By now, we were really hoping that it’s good. And it was perfect! The Carbonara was cooked al dente, very tasty and the sauce was just right – the pasta was well covered in sauce, yet it wasn’t too heavy. You could eat the whole thing and not feel nauseous afterwards. My pasta was also very good. I really like bucattini pasta – especially because of their shape, they have a hole in the middle, but the ends are filled. Haha, what a description. But this is how they are. The sauce was delicious too!
“I was thinking of actual places in Italy where I ate the best and realized that they looked exactly like this one. ”
I kept telling Vlad he should have a taste from my pasta – 3 times I told him, and 3 times he said no, saying that he does not like pasta with tomato-based sauce. I still kept insisting, because I really liked it, until he finally caved in and got a taste. He was very surprised and said that he thinks you could actually say they taste better than the Carbonara! I couldn’t decide which one was better. Also, there was no way I could finish everything! By the way, I think the servings here are much bigger than the average. Even Vlad struggled a bit to finish his. So, I decided to take the rest of it to-go, so that I can also have a taste of the Tiramisu. The dessert was very good as well. I maybe would have added some more ladyfingers, but the creme was just right. The texture and consistency - perfect also. No trace of artificial flavoring.
“I’m very glad I discovered it… after 5 years.”
On the downside though, the coffee was not good. Well, I actually thought it was average, but Vlad did not approve of it. What can I say? My prosecco was good.
In the end, we asked the waitress if the chef is Italian and found out that he is! I’d like to believe that I knew it from the first bite of pasta. So – if you want to eat very well and feel like in a vacation in Italy, go to Il Mulino. I’m very glad I discovered it… after 5 years. I can picture myself now getting friendly with the staff and becoming one of the regulars. I’ll keep it in my mind for evenings when I’m feeling casual, and want to eat well.
One last tip: if you’re going in the summer, save some space for some gelato from the nearby gelato shop (which probably has the same owners as the restaurant). There’s always a line in the summer.