Nearby points of interest

  1. Distance: 0.29mi
  2. Distance: 0.65mi
  3. Distance: 0.72mi
  4. Distance: 0.91mi
  1. Distance: 0.29mi
  2. Distance: 0.65mi
  3. Distance: 0.72mi
  4. Distance: 0.91mi

Nearby points of interest

  1. Distance: 0.29mi
  2. Distance: 0.65mi
  3. Distance: 0.72mi
  4. Distance: 0.91mi
  1. Distance: 0.29mi
  2. Distance: 0.65mi
  3. Distance: 0.72mi
  4. Distance: 0.91mi

About 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.

4650 C Arendell Street
Morehead City, NC 28557
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Dining Style:
Casual Elegant

Cuisines:
Tapas / Small Plates, Seafood

Hours of Operation:
Monday: 11:30am - 9:00pm
Tuesday: CLOSED
Wed-Thurs: 11:30am - 9:00pm
Friday - Saturday: 11:30am - 9:30pm
Sunday Brunch: 10:30am - 2pm, full menu available all day Sunday until 9pm

Cross Street:
Across from EJW Outdoors

Dress Code:
Casual Dress

Price Range:
$30 and under

Payment Options
AMEX, MasterCard, Visa

Phone Number:
(252) 648-8300

Website:
http://www.circa81.com/

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!

Parking Details:
Big private lot. Will accommodate large vehicles

Public Transit:
Taxi Cabs (sorry MHC does not offer public transportation)

We are located 2.5 miles west of the Atlantic Beach bridge in Carteret Village Shopping Center.

Executive Chef:
Clarke Merrell

Additional:
Bar/Lounge, Beer, BYO Wine, Cocktails, Corkage Fee, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Non-Smoking, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine

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.

Circa 81 Tapas & Cocktaileria Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

4.7

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.7

service

4.7

ambience

4.4

value

4.4

Noise

Moderate

98% would recommend it to a friend

Special Occasion (21)
Tapas (21)
Good for a Date (18)
See All
Creative Cuisine (18)
Romantic (17)
Fit for Foodies (13)
Neighborhood Gem (11)
Worth the Drive (11)
Bar Seating (10)
Good for Birthdays (10)
Fun (10)
Good for Anniversaries (9)
Handcrafted Cocktails (9)
Casual (9)
Cozy (8)
Notable Wine List (8)
Quiet Conversation (8)
Local Ingredients (7)
Authentic (6)
Sunday Lunch (6)
Tasting Menu (6)
Comfort Food (5)
Great for Brunch (4)
Seasonal (4)
Great for Lunch (4)
Gluten Free Options (3)
Good for Groups (3)
Happy Hour (3)
Healthy (3)
Hot Spot (3)
Good Vegetarian Options (3)
Business Meals (2)
Great Beer (2)
Pre/post Theatre (2)
Quick Bite (2)
Spicy (2)
Afternoon Tea (1)
Kid-friendly (1)
Late-night Find (1)
Great for Outdoor Dining (1)
Paleo Friendly (1)
Vibrant Bar Scene (1)
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404 reviews
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 (Atlanta)·Dined on November 4, 2017

My wife and I eat here about once or twice a week. The Su day Brunch is our favorite stop after church. The menus are varied. It I enjoy the specials which change regularly. The wait staff are particularly attentive.

Tags: Cozy, Healthy, Good for a Date
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value5

 
 (Greensboro)·Dined on November 4, 2017

Excellent food and perfect service. Certainly a top 3 restaurant in the area!

Tags: Romantic, Special Occasion, Good for Birthdays, Seasonal
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Wilmington)·Dined on October 29, 2017

Being a frequent diner at the restaurant, we chose to dine from the specials. We had the omelette special and it was great! A perfectly spiced, perfectly cooked , blackened salmon omelette , with just the right amount of fresh spinach and tomatoes. A great dish, with outstanding service(thanks Jamie) made for a very nice birthday brunch!

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Wilmington)·Dined on October 28, 2017

Great experience

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (Wilmington)·Dined on October 27, 2017

Food is always good here. Great wine list. Service is always very good!

Tags: Good for Anniversaries, Notable Wine List, Tasting Menu, Good for a Date, Fit for Foodies, Tapas
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value5

 
·Dined on October 9, 2017

Such a wonderful place! The service was amazing, the food delicious!!! We went there for my husband's birthday, and our waitress made sure to make it a special occasion! Loved it!!!!

Tags: Special Occasion, Cozy, Authentic, Romantic, Fun
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Louisville)·Dined on October 8, 2017

Enjoyed a delicious Sunday brunch with a friend. Our server Joe was exceptional and very attentive to our dining requests and made brunch very relaxing. We enjoyed our food selections and definitely recommende Circa 81...especially for Sunday Brunch.

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Quick Bite
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience3
service5
value4

 
 (Wilmington)·Dined on October 7, 2017

This is an outstanding restaurant in the area. Great cocktails!
Great small plates!
Great service!

Very easy to share and combine plates to create a dining experience. Pricing is very reasonable considering the quality of the product.

Tags: Quiet Conversation, Good for a Date, Special Occasion, Local Ingredients, Handcrafted Cocktails, Casual
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value5

 
·Dined on October 7, 2017

We love Circa for the amazing food and friendly service!

Tags: Spicy, Happy Hour, Tasting Menu, Tapas, Comfort Food, Romantic
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value3

 
 (Raleigh)·Dined on September 23, 2017

We went based off of a friends sting recommendation; it's her favorite place. We ordered the pineapple coconut mojo to and the cherry limoncello lemonade both were great. We also had the half chefs tour which was a tray of cheeses, meats and pickled items, which were all great . My husband had the crab and fried green tomatoes and I had the honey pork belly on Gouda cheese grits, which was equally as great. The service we received my our waiter Paul was the absolute best we ever received. Absolutely amazing.

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Wilmington)·Dined on September 22, 2017

The food was phenomenal as always. The honey glazed scallop special was amazing over the buffalo risotto. Great service!

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food5
ambience5
service5

 
 (Western NC)·Dined on September 18, 2017

Excellent meal. New favorite restaurant in the area.

Tags: Worth the Drive, Handcrafted Cocktails, Romantic, Quiet Conversation, Pre/post Theatre, Notable Wine List, Creative Cuisine
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on September 9, 2017

We thoroughly enjoyed our evening at Circa 81. The service was terrific and the restaurant has a pleasant ambiance. It is one of the better restaurants we've experienced in Morehead City. We will return.

Tags: Good for a Date, Bar Seating, Special Occasion
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food4
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on September 3, 2017

This restaurant is always fabulous with delicious creative dishes that never disappoint. Being from the NY/NJ area that is quite a compliment!

Tags: Local Ingredients, Creative Cuisine
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (Savannah)·Dined on September 3, 2017

The Bloody Mary's were very good and spicy! We came for Brunch, the menu had plenty to choose from and our food was really tasty!!

Tags: Special Occasion, Casual, Afternoon Tea, Local Ingredients, Tapas
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value4

vip
 (Wilmington)·Dined on September 1, 2017

As always, Circa 81 delivers. The food is always good, the service is excellent and we return again and again

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food5
ambience5
service5

 
 (Richmond)·Dined on September 1, 2017

Food and service was great!

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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

vip
 (Raleigh)·Dined on August 31, 2017

Delicious!! Great cocktails. Don't leave without having the pork belly the chicken wings or the garlic shrip. The chef's tour of charcuterie is also a must-have. Oh, and they don't call it a 'blueberry yum-yum' for nothin'. Try it, you'll thank me!

Tags: Kid-friendly, Neighborhood Gem, Special Occasion, Creative Cuisine, Fit for Foodies, Tapas
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (Raleigh)·Dined on August 20, 2017

We had a great meal on Saturday night at Circa 81. Our waitress was fabulous and did a great job! As a table of 5, she got everything right! The food was great..we loved the shrimp and grits. Thanks for a great experience!

Tags: Special Occasion, Gluten Free Options, Tapas, Good for a Date, Creative Cuisine, Good for Birthdays
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value5

vip
 (Miami)·Dined on August 13, 2017

As always, excellent! The meats and cheeses platter was outstanding! Great value! Nice wines -reasonably priced.

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Special Occasion, Comfort Food, Worth the Drive, Casual, Fun, Good for Birthdays, Tapas, Romantic, Bar Seating, Good for Anniversaries, Local Ingredients, Great for Outdoor Dining, Healthy, Quiet Conversation, Neighborhood Gem, Cozy, Fit for Foodies, Good for a Date, Business Meals
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Wilmington)·Dined on August 11, 2017

Just had a casual birthday dinner with my wife and our 2 preschoolers. Always an adventure with the kiddos- but our server, Joe, was great. He got us out a bowl of their amazing mac and cheese very quickly and that settled everyone down. The duck breast was the highlight. Brussel sprouts and the beef tapas were very good. Highly recommend this place for everything from a regular night out to a special occasion- just wish they would stock a plain cheese cake! Also- the well documented gluten-free menu was highly appreciated.

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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (Houston)·Dined on August 10, 2017

We have been here several times and it was very good. This time ,however,was not. Food was not great, service was very slow, it was noisy. It is not an inexpensive restaurant so you would expect better. We won't go back.

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food2
ambience2
service2
value2

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on August 10, 2017

Food was delicious. Good wine list. Service was attentive and efficient. Will go back next time I'm in the area.

Tags: Special Occasion, Romantic, Handcrafted Cocktails
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service4
value4

vip
 (Raleigh)·Dined on August 6, 2017

We've eaten at Circa 81 numerous times. Always a delight. Love the variety of the menu and wine /cocktail offerings. Servers are always friendly and knowledgeable. We'll be back. It's one of our favorites.

Tags: Healthy, Special Occasion, Creative Cuisine, Romantic, Good for a Date, Neighborhood Gem, Bar Seating, Casual, Good for Birthdays, Quiet Conversation
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service3
value5

vip
 (Wilmington)·Dined on August 5, 2017

While achieving excellence in any business is challenging, it is particularly difficult for restaurants. There are so many elements that must be managed skillfully. Circa 81 is one of the few restaurants in this area that has accomplished that goal. The menu offers a wide range of interesting and creative choices ranging from tapas to large plate entrees. The dishes are expertly prepared and beautifully presented. The atmosphere and ambience of Circa 81 make it a delightful physical environment. The service is extraordinary! We love Sonya and ask for her every time we dine at Circa 81. The ability to achieve excellence in menu design, meal preparation and presentation, atmosphere, and service is no small accomplishment and makes Circa 81 one of very favorite restaurants!

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Cozy, Romantic, Notable Wine List, Fun, Local Ingredients, Fit for Foodies, Tapas, Authentic, Great for Lunch, Worth the Drive, Special Occasion, Good for Anniversaries, Good for a Date
1 person found this review helpful.
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Savannah)·Dined on August 5, 2017

Great service and a wide variety of tapas to choose from - the ones we chose (bread service, hot crab dip, potstickers, the blackened tuna nachos, which was a special and to die for!, and a few other things) were all very delicious. Great atmosphere in the bar area, too. Quiet and cozy.

Tags: Late-night Find, Cozy, Quick Bite, Fun, Comfort Food, Worth the Drive, Good for Groups, Quiet Conversation, Good for Birthdays, Tapas, Tasting Menu, Special Occasion, Authentic
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Philadelphia)·Dined on August 5, 2017

Had a great dinner. We shared everything so we were able to try a lot of different things on the menu. The duck and jamon serrano hush puppies were a stand out. Our server was very knowledgeable about wine and explaining all the dishes. Very polite and on top of all the details. Will def go again.

Tags: Worth the Drive, Creative Cuisine, Seasonal, Fit for Foodies
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience3
service4
value3

 
·Dined on August 4, 2017

A wonderful evening. Table was ready when we arrived. Perfect in every way.

Tags: Casual, Fun, Fit for Foodies, Good for a Date, Authentic, Tasting Menu, Tapas, Creative Cuisine, Good for Anniversaries, Special Occasion
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on August 2, 2017

We had a great experience at this tapas-style restaurant. We received excellent service from Shawn who was very personable and truly cared about our dining experience. We will definitely return during our next beach trip!

Tags: Happy Hour, Fit for Foodies, Hot Spot, Worth the Drive, Bar Seating, Good for Anniversaries, Paleo Friendly
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food5
ambience4
service5
value5

 
·Dined on July 23, 2017

My sister and I drove from New Bern for the Sunday Brunch. It was delightful! They were busy so I was glad I made a reservation. The staff was very attentive and efficient. The food was fabulous. We go out to eat food that we don't cook at home, so Circa 81 certainly accomplished our need. I can't wait to go back

Tags: Worth the Drive, Creative Cuisine, Local Ingredients, Great for Lunch, Sunday Lunch, Casual
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on July 16, 2017

Terrific service, and best food I've had in the area this year. Overall - best experience we've had in Morehead / Beaufort area for Summer 2017. Our waitress was attentive, but not overly so. Was very quick to let us know what they were about to run out of, so we could reserve it (mac n cheese w truffles & fried soft crabs). We shared several (maybe 6?) tapas between 2 couples, and it was just right. I was impressed! And unlike too many places, it was not too loud. Easy to enjoy dinner conversation over very well-prepared food. Thank you Circa 81!

Tags: Tapas, Good for Groups, Local Ingredients
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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (Raleigh)·Dined on July 15, 2017

Great as always. Best overall restaurant in Morehead City/AB area.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Richmond)·Dined on July 12, 2017

Tried a bunch of different tapas and enjoyed all of them.

Tags: Healthy, Good for Groups, Quiet Conversation, Fit for Foodies, Great Beer, Gluten Free Options, Vibrant Bar Scene, Bar Seating, Business Meals, Happy Hour
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Philadelphia)·Dined on July 12, 2017

Very nice variety of tapas options to chose from and share. Food and service was excellent. This was our first visit. We will return again.

Tags: Casual, Tapas, Fit for Foodies
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food4
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on July 7, 2017

I have been going to Circ 81 for about three years now. Of course, I only go about twice a year when vacationing with my family in Atlantic Beach. We found out about it through a lady at the Beaufort Olive Oil and Vinegar Company (also highly recommended!) and found that, while pricey, the food is delicious! I cannot speak to the full meals but their tapas are wonderful! I recommend going in a modestly sized group and getting two tapas each and sharing among each other. The best, in my opinion, are the pot stickers, the sweet potato quesadilla, and the Medjool dates. Quiet and great service! The only downside is you will need a reservation. I would say make reservations a day ahead so you can get exactly the time you want.

Tags: Good for a Date, Creative Cuisine, Tapas, Quiet Conversation, Cozy, Good for Birthdays, Late-night Find, Local Ingredients, Bar Seating, Handcrafted Cocktails, Fun, Worth the Drive
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

vip
 (Baltimore)·Dined on July 6, 2017

Circa 81 is consistently exceptional in regards to their food and service. The specials and regular menu items are creative and prepared with fresh ingredients...when you order. The drink options are varied and carefully prepared. Our go-to restaurant for any occasion or no occasion at all. Highly recommended!

Tags: Good for a Date, Worth the Drive, Local Ingredients, Romantic, Afternoon Coffee, Healthy, Tasting Menu, Pre/post Theatre, Good for Anniversaries, Handcrafted Cocktails, Tapas, Great for Brunch, Creative Cuisine, Quiet Conversation, Vegan, Neighborhood Gem, Fit for Foodies, Great for Outdoor Dining, Special Occasion, Business Meals, Quick Bite, Bar Seating, Casual, Sunday Lunch, Notable Wine List, Good Vegetarian Options, Good for Birthdays, Cozy, Afternoon Tea, Fun, Happy Hour, Great for Lunch
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Tampa)·Dined on July 5, 2017

Food was very pricey for the size. The kids food was low quality. The best thing I ate was the in house made chips. Duck was good quality, well prepared.

Tags: Tasting Menu, Fit for Foodies, Quiet Conversation, Tapas, Business Meals
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food3
ambience1
service2
value1

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on July 1, 2017

A must in Morehead!! Always excellent. Never disappoints.

Tags: Good for a Date, Quiet Conversation, Authentic, Neighborhood Gem, Tapas, Special Occasion, Fun, Creative Cuisine, Kid-friendly, Great Beer, Local Ingredients, Handcrafted Cocktails, Worth the Drive
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Raleigh)·Dined on June 25, 2017

Our one year wessing anniversary couldn't have been better at circa 81! Amazing food, gluten free options for me, great service and wonderful atmosphere. We will be back!

Tags: Good for Anniversaries, Creative Cuisine, Tapas, Gluten Free Options, Local Ingredients, Good for a Date, Romantic, Special Occasion, Notable Wine List, Organic
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Wilmington)·Dined on June 24, 2017

As always, the food was delicious and "a good time was had by all."

Tags: Great for Lunch, Happy Hour
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service4
value4

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