Old-school Italian meets South Beach chic at new Il Mulino

The what: In addition to an Il Mulino New York in Sunny Isles Beach, the Italian maestros have expanded their South Florida presence with this South Beach outpost in SoFi. Executive chef Michele Mazza keeps things legit.

The space: The former Clarke’s pub space has gotten an overhaul and is now a white-on-white den of marble lit with colossal sphere lamps. Framed Vogue covers give the space a fashionista vibe and dispel the brand’s usual old-world Italian aesthetic. 

The scene: Frenetic, Euro-heavy and loud. There’s an emphasis on tableside preparation, with armies of servers hovering over individual burners scattered throughout the dining room.

The dishes: Upscale Italian. Veal and shellfish are big, as is fresh pasta with gutsy, garlicky, spicy sauces. Prices are geared for expense-account spending with starters averaging $18 and mains in the $30-$50 range.

Pace yourself not to fill up on the free snacks before the food arrives — tempting freebies include fried zucchini, hunks of parmesan, antipasti, and piles of garlic and focaccia bread. 

Starters include the vongole casino clams which are baked on the half-shell with casino butter and smoked bacon, and thinly sliced Tuscan-style beef carpaccio topped with arugula, olive oil and a light Dijon mustard sauce. Pastas are offered in full or half-size portions, with classics like homemade ravioli with black truffles and creamy champagne sauce, and cannelloni stuffed with veal, lamb, and beef.

Mains include jumbo prawns from Sardinia, a Dijon-crusted rack of lamb, and a signature veal ossobuco with porcini mushrooms served over saffron risotto.

The Bottom Line: The pageantry of an old-fashioned Italian dinner in a sleek, white South Beach setting.