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  • Circa 81 Tapas & Cocktaileria

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Circa 81 Tapas & Cocktaileria
Circa 81 Tapas & Cocktaileria
  • Address:
    4650 C Arendell Street
    Morehead City, NC 28557
    Neighborhood:
    Beaufort / Morehead City
  • Cuisine:
    Tapas / Small Plates
    Price: $30 and under

Circa 81 Tapas & Cocktaileria Details

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.circa-81.com
  • Email: clarke@circa-81.com
  • Phone: (252) 648-8300
  • Hours of Operation: Lunch: Monday - Sunday: 11:30am - 5:00pm; Dinner: Sunday - Thursday: 5:00pm - 9:00pm, Friday - Saturday: 5:00pm - 9:30pm; Brunch: Sunday: 10:30am - 5:00pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX, MasterCard, Visa
  • Cuisine: Tapas / Small Plates, Seafood
  • Executive Chef: Clarke Merrell
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Bar Dining, Beer, Farm to Table, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Non-Smoking Area, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine, Wine Bar
  • Catering: Circa 81 offers full service catering. Let us cater your next event. We will cook and clean, and you can take all of the credit. Think of us when you are planning your next, wedding, rehearsal dinner, bridal luncheon, office party, dinner party, baby shower etc. Also popular is our drop off menu. We will drop off your food so you can eat at your own leisure. This has been a big hit for the big family beach gatherings. Email Clarke@circa-81.com or call 252.648.8300 for your catering needs. Gather, Eat, Enjoy!
  • Special Events & Promotions: Host your next special event with us. We offer both private and semi-private setups for rehearsal dinners, engagement parties, baby/bridal showers or just a special celebration. Email Clarke@circa-81.com or call 252.648.8300 for details.

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Across from EJW Outdoors
  • Public Transit: Taxi Cabs (sorry MHC does not offer public transportation) We are located 2.5 miles west of the Atlantic Beach bridge.
  • Parking: Private Lot
  • Parking Details: Big private lot. Will accommodate large vehicles
A word from Circa 81 Tapas & Cocktaileria
Clarke Merrell's (Circa 81 Executive Chef/Proprietor) goal is for Circa 81 to provide creative, quality, & delicious food in a beautiful setting. Offering small plates that are perfect for passing around the table in true tapas style, our dishes are meant to inspire and engage our diners. So, start a conversation, relax, and enjoy a fresh take on cuisine. Clarke developed Circa 81 in hopes that guests will try something new and different and truly have a dining experience. Circa 81 offers great wine and cocktails too, with more than 30 specialty drinks on our cocktaileria menu. Our menu also includes medium and large plate selections - delicious sandwiches, homemade soups, local seafood and fresh-made desserts. Circa 81 also offers take-out and catering - just contact us for more details.Continued
Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerFit for Foodies
  • Diners' Choice WinnerNeighborhood Gem
  • Diners' Choice WinnerNotable Wine List
Diner Reviews
  • "Great food, and romantic atmosphere. Would definitely recommend and will be going back soon"
    Dined on 4/14/2014
  • "The food was exquisite. The combination of flavors were amazing. It was like flavorful dream. I have already recommended this gem to many of my friends."
    Dined on 4/5/2014
  • "Went for Toast to the Coast dinner. Was not disappointed. Song selection (60s classic hits) did not fit with ambience May want to consider smooth jazz for dinner music"
    Dined on 4/2/2014
  • "Very good experience at Circa....Randi our waitress was on point, helped us with menu selections as we decided on different plates.....pricing was as expected and we recieved what we paid for, really good food and really good service A return trip from New Bern already being planned"
    Dined on 3/29/2014
  • "We have enjoyed Circa 81 for several years, but this last experience was great. The food was terrific. The waitress, Jessica, was extremely helpful. We hope you keep her on for a long time."
    Dined on 3/12/2014
  • "We've always had a GREAT experience at Circa 81, whether celebrating an anniversary or birthday to meeting friends for drinks and tapas!"
    Dined on 3/7/2014
  • "This is a great little restaurant with a wonderful array of small plate tapas. If you like to try different entrees, this is the place to do it."
    Dined on 3/5/2014
  • "Circa 81 is very nice for a special occasion, its a little small but other than that its that best places i could have found."
    Dined on 2/14/2014
  • "Made a reservation and showed up just on time. The hostess seated us quickly, and the waitress (Jessica) brought us fabulous cocktails within minutes (Cosmos are recommended). The tapas were UNBELIEVABLY good. LOVED the medjool dates, the steamed mussels, the potatoes brava, the black bean and sweet potato quesadillas, and the duck (presented on a slate). Excellent presentation, finest and freshest ingredients. These people GET it. Special kudos to Clarke; a local NC man who went the extra distance for his customers, and learned how to COOK! :) THANK YOU!"
    Dined on 2/14/2014
  • "Went with friends for brunch...have been numerous times and always consistent. Highly recommend it!"
    Dined on 1/27/2014
  • "Well worth searching for. We have been coming to this area for 5 years, and Circa 81 has been in this location for longer than that! It's in the more "commercial/mall/newer" section of Arendell Street and faces the road sideways with a fairly small sign. We really enjoyed our meal, with another couple. My pasta w/ scallops in red, cream sauce was delicious. Each of the other diners with me also raved about their food. We eat out about every other night while staying at a timeshare in Atlantic Beach in January, and we all decided that this quiet gem is now in the top 5 on our restaurant list. We will definitely be back in January of 2015!!"
    Dined on 1/14/2014
  • "Very pleased with the food and ambience at Circa 81. Have recommended Circa 81 to several friends."
    Dined on 1/23/2014
  • "I go here regularly and as usual, and love to bring friends for the first time. I love this place forSunday brunch, lunch, and dinner. On this occasion we started with crab, bacon, spinach, and gorgonzola oysters OMG I was in HEAVEN!!! They were phenomenal. Following up the oysters (a nightly special) and our usual seafood mac and cheese (a staple) I ordered the gorgonzola crusted NY strip steak. It was cooked to perfection. My husband was equally thrilled with his lamb. Our friends both ordered the strip and were just as thrilled with the food as I always am. I was assured they will be returning. Thank you again Circa 81 for giving us another wonderful dining experience!"
    Dined on 1/18/2014
  • "The ambiance was nice, but I expected better food and service for the prices. There ate certainly other good restaurants in this price range with good food and professional, friendly service. Circa 81 did not meet my expectations"
    Dined on 1/15/2014
  • "We went on a weekday and it wasn't packed which was good but the waitress didn't assist us for at least 20 minutes who apparently was the hostess also. The music was a little too loud and our waitress smelled like cigarette smoke. Besides all the negatives the food was amazing so we had a great night."
    Dined on 1/5/2014
  • "We had never dined at Circa 81 before and found it to be a truly amazing experience. We requested a reservation online and the table was set up and ready to go when we arrived at the restaurant. The selections were spot on and delightful. I particularly enjoyed the tapas selections - because you had a really good portion per serving and so many to choose from! We enjoyed the interaction from the hostess, our waitress Natalie, and Chef Clarke Merrell. Added bonus which made the experience! One does not expect this quality of food and quality of service, nor do we often get it, in a typical "vacation" town."
    Dined on 1/3/2014
  • "Overall Circa 81 offered an excellent menu of tapas, all of which were brought out in a timely fashion. In rating the overall quality of food compared to other establishments I give it four stars. The service was exceptional and the ambience was perfect for first dates or enjoying a higher class bar scene -- families or couples. Circa 81 has made my list of restaurants to visit when I return to the Crystal Coast."
    Dined on 1/3/2014
  • "Years ago, I am embarrassed to say, I was very negative after our first visit. Well, I was way wrong!!! This wonderful place has evolved into THE top spot for inventive and tasty dishes, good wine values and excellent service. Check it out!"
    Dined on 12/22/2013
  • "We have been to Circa 81 at more than 1/2 a doz times since discovering it on OT. We were there this past wknd and were commenting that what a great find this was. The food is always awesome and unique. The staff is professional and friendly. This last time we made a reservation for lunch even though we suspected that it was a quiet time and no real need for reservations. When we arrived they had the table ready for us with the menus already setup for us. None of the other tables were setup this way :-) made us feel most welcomed. We have tried different items on the menu and have yet to be disappointed! We have been there in the evenings and every once in a while we are fortunate to be there when they have a live jazz musician."
    Dined on 11/29/2013
  • "This is one of our favorite places to eat. We always do the tapas. There are always specials so that we are eating new things. Our favorites on the regular menu are the Shrimp and Grits, the tuna and the baked brie. Whenever we can, we go on Thursday nights for the $5 martinis - great fun. We have had friends that did the small plates with soup and enjoyed them very much. All in all this is a great place for dinner and we would recommend it to anyone."
    Dined on 11/22/2013
  • "We love tapas and Circa 81 has a nice selection of creative offerings. We anchored our choices with traditional cheese and Iberico plates. The bar is nice and the wine list is very good and reasonable. The service was friendly and attentive. Although the location is nothing special, the food and experience is special."
    Dined on 11/18/2013
  • "1st time @ Circa & probably will not return.Waited 5+ minutes for anyone to greet us @ front podium even tho waitstaff kept passing us.Were seated @ a booth & waited almost 20 minutes for a server. We were getting ready to leave when waitress finally came.She raved about the pineapple martini, so I got it. It was NOT good at all. I expected it to have pineapple juice in it but think it was just flavored pineapple liquor.Only drank 1/2.Should have sent back!We had salads & they were very good.Beautifully presented.Wanted the gnocchi but they were out.I had chicken black bean quesadilla. Paid $2 extra for the chicken & never had any until last bite but overall very good.Mr had steak skewer & loved it.Customer srvc may put them out of bizness"
    Dined on 10/19/2013
  • "Circa 81 is one of our favorite restaurants. Clarke, the owner and chef, creates dishes full of flavors. If it is your first visit, try the dishes that are named with "Circa 81" and you will find his special combinations. We love Circa 81 French Toast, Circa 81 Benedict, and the Circa 81 Martini! Tapas are excellent too, with the Black Bean Quesadilla, any of Clark's special pork wings, the crab dip---truthfully, you can't go wrong. We tend to go to Sunday Brunch, and then for dinner we order a variety of his tapas, but I'm sure the dinner entrees are delicious too. Clarke's pork dishes tend to be my favorites. Enjoy!"
    Dined on 11/3/2013
  • "Circa81 boasts a thriving menu of small, medium, and large plates. There is a large enough variety to please the palate of any customer. The issue is not finding something you like, but narrowing down all the choices into your perfect meal. They vary from traditional Spanish-inspired tapas to seafood, and rounding it out with vegetarian and farm to table options. Definitely worth the trip whether you are staying inland or on the Crystal Coast. The chef is worth all the awards and accreditation he receives. If you are feeling up to it, try a few of the house specialty drinks - they are refreshing and definitely out of the norm of what you will find in other restaurants."
    Dined on 10/19/2013
  • "Turn the AIR down in the corner booths please .................Great food but don't leave it up to the wait staff to bring the dishes out in the proper order .........."
    Dined on 10/22/2013
  • "Went to circa 81 with my wife, in-laws, and parents and everyone couldn't have been more pleased with the food, service, and just over all quality. Service was friendly and funny and the food is by far the best in the area. You can't go wrong by going here."
    Dined on 9/13/2013
  • "This restaurant may not have an oceanview, but the food is the best in Morehead City. The tapas, the sangria, the Sunday brunch---everything is delicious. The owner, Clarke, often comes out to ask diners for their opinions. He uses fresh ingredients and creates interesting combinations. We often try his specials, but we also have some menu items that we never skip. We highly recommend this restaurant."
    Dined on 9/1/2013