Top Tapas: Calilou, a tapas bar located in Historic Downtown Melbourne, is experiential dining at its best where the food is the entertainment and the diners partake in the fun. Tapas plates originate from Spain focusing on small dishes made with a few fresh ingredients and local flare. Calilou boasts an intimate setting with candlelit tables, a group-friendly bar and world-class tapas menu.

“While tapas are an afterthought for many restaurants, for Calilou, it is our passion,” says Ryan Engdahl, Executive Chef of Calilou. “We want to be known as the  best tapas bar around. We achieve that by creating irresistible selections like our wasabi deviled eggs with sesame seared tuna or our roasted garlic and bacon mini meatballs.”

Wine Pairings: To entice the uninitiated, Calilou will hold Wine and Tapas Tastings on the third Thursday of each month, starting in the fall. Chef Ryan leads his team of chefs in executing a new menu of four tapas thoughtfully paired with four wines. The night focuses on fun while teaching the essentials of complementing food with wine.

Ryan’s latest tapas favorite is a traditional ceviche, made with mahi mahi, fresh lime, jalapeno and cilantro served on a bed of sweet potato chips nestled in a coconut shell. The dish is delightfully fresh, simple and so delicious.

Seafood Roots:  A south Florida culinary school graduate, Ryan cooked at restaurants from West Palm to Miami, sometimes holding two to three cook positions at a time. He cruised between the Bahamas and South Beach as Chef de Cuisine on a private yacht.  This experience gave him time to further experiment and develop his culinary craft, particularly with seafood.

“You become more emotionally involved when you love what you’re cooking,” reflects Ryan. “We would catch, skin, clean and cook everything we caught.”

“I feel the same way when cooking for guests at Calilou. And as a chef, I love seeing people have a blast as they taste and dote over all our tapas plates.”

Perfect for dates and groups, Calilou is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 5 p.m.  Wine Tastings are $20 and include the four plates and four pours of wine. Call to reserve a table at (321) 723-1584.

Calilou Tapas Bar, 901 E. New Haven Ave., Melbourne
(321) 345-4785  |