Bring on the pizza! Well, flatbread. There is a difference. In fact, several. First of all you can at least pretend to be healthy when you’re breaking your Keto diet. Flatbread often comes unburdened from all the refined flour, trans fat and oils of your typical delivery pizza. Plus, flatbread makes cooking look super simple. As Chef Robert lined us up at the toppings station — complete with oven roasted tomatoes, fresh Buffalo mozzarella, pepperoni, fresh herbs, and Italian sausage among others — preparing our flatbread was as simple as ladling the ingredients onto our bed of dough and handing over our creations to be baked to rich perfection.

That was the extent of our cooking. All the guests in attendance at Ciao Hound Italian Kitchen & Bar were eager to sit at the Tuscan rustic indoor setting that fits right in with the trendy farm to table aesthetics that have swept Italian island eateries in recent years. The restaurant is situated on the up and coming vacation getaway Postcard Inn — boasting incredible sunrise to sunset views with a boardwalk marina — and bills itself as a family friendly and unpretentious hotel with a dining experience that is still appropriate for a romantic night out. The former was evident as we broke bread quite literally with an herb garlic encrusted top and eyeballed the rapidly diminishing bacchanal before us.

The flash fried crispy calamari and zucchini were among the first to go. Banished were the delicate yet plump squid rings that have stalked the menus of restaurants everywhere. At Ciao Hound, the calamari comprised significantly larger cuts with a rich breading and roasted garlic aioli. My dinner mate routinely spooned more onto my plate till we admittedly created quite the shortage.

The baked mussels Arrabbiata anchored the dining table with its wine, garlic, and spicy marinara infusions, which paired well with the sparkling white wines and freshly mixed daily sangria that were poured throughout the evening.

Then out came the night’s main feature. Our individual flatbreads that we each lovingly prepared earlier were now teeming with life and the sizzle of the kitchen’s oven. My personal creation featured three distinct cheeses, stacks of pepperoni, diced chicken, tomatoes, and fragrant fresh basil. Mine wasn’t the prettiest flatbread going in to the oven but Chef Robert’s team had it looking professional and sumptuous by the time it was brought out. Crispy. Rich. A flourish of sweetness from the oven roasted tomatoes. We definitely took our leftover flatbread with us.

Oh, don’t forget to “take the cannoli’s”! It wouldn’t be an end to an Italian dinner without powdered sugar, ricotta, and snappy pastry dough all drizzled with warm chocolate. Ciao Hound at Mile Marker 84 is shaping up to be one of the dining gems of the Upper Keys. With the continued development of the Postcard Inn and proximity of the property’s Tiki Bar and outdoor viewing experiences, Ciao Hound is well worth the drive whether you’re taking a day trip from Miami or venturing up the Keys for a slice of Italy in Floridian paradise.

  • Open Sunday-Thursday 5-10pm, Weekends 11pm
    Yappy Hour 5-6pm Daily
    Daily specials for humans and pups