Circa 81 Tapas & Cocktaileria

4.8
680 Reviews
$30 and under
Tapas / Small Plates
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.
What 680 people are saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.8based on recent ratings
4.9
food
4.8
service
4.6
ambience
4.7
value
Noise · Moderate
98% of people would recommend it to a friend
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H
vipHank22
Wilmington
46 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food, drinks and service were outstanding. Our server and the whole team made us feel very comfortable and really took care of us. The food was so good that I wish I had seconds and thirds.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Raleigh
8 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience4

The salmon large plate is the BEST! Great selection of small plates and love love love the Traditional Sangria! Love this place!

LL
LisaL
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Our dinner was amazing! The food was excellent, and the service was perfect. There's a reason Circa 81 is my favorite restaurant in Morehead City.

AC
AngelaC
1 review
Dined on April 3, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food and fantastic drinks! Perfect pacing in delivery of tapas to the table to allow maximum satisfaction.

C
vipChrissy
San Diego
20 reviews
Dined on April 2, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

first time and the food and atmosphere was amazing. The wait staff was super nice and really made the whole night very enjoyable.

we’d definitely go back.

must try the pork belly!

A
Alexa
1 review
Dined on March 27, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

My husband and I first came to this restaurant seven years ago following our wedding. We have been returning every year, sometimes a few times a year, to celebrate our anniversary. Each year that we return, the atmosphere has remained the same. The food is fabulous, the service is outstanding, and the general feel of the restaurant is perfect. The tapas are amazing, the large plates are full of flavor, and the drinks are superb. We will always return so long as the building still stands.

NC
NikiC
Wilmington
2 reviews
Dined on March 26, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

It was wonderful to come back and visit a place that is always so good.

RB
RickB
1 review
Dined on March 20, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

First visit. Amazing food, amazing, will be back for sure!

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on March 8, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Always an amazing time. The waitresses here are world class!

H
vipHank22
Wilmington
47 reviews
Dined on March 7, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

great food and service. wish the brunch portion size was bigger

JH
vipJamesH
Richmond
4 reviews
Dined on February 21, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Very interesting menu items. Our choices were very good and we enjoyed the evenings food and service.

P
Pamela
Richmond
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food and service were both absolutely amazing, as always. One of our favorite places to eat.

TC
TaylorCK
1 review
Dined on February 13, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The service was outstanding, and each dish was flavorful and savory.

JG
JoeyG
Wilmington
1 review
Dined on February 12, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Simply one of the best places to eat. Amazing food great service and great prices.

JP
JeanetteP
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on February 3, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

First visit, not our last. Enjoyed the freshness of the food, enthusiasm of our server, and the fun atmosphere. Looking forward to our next visit.

WH
WesH
1 review
Dined on January 31, 2021
Overall3food3service3ambience4

Brunch...blah, watered down Bloody Mary, cold and al dente hash browns. Just ok, nothing crazy good.

Circa 81 Tapas & Cocktaileria
Responded on February 3, 2021

We're so sorry you didn't enjoy your food and experience. We do feel this is very out of the ordinary and would love the opportunity to address your concerns directly. As a locally-owned and family-operated business we take each guest visit to heart. We hope we can have an opportunity to earn you back as a valued patron. We appreciate your time.

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S
Skip
Raleigh
2 reviews
Dined on January 30, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience4

We live locally and this is our go to restaurant. We always take visiting friends to Circa and are never disappointed. Too many good dishes to list.

j
jano
Wilmington
7 reviews
Dined on January 28, 2021
Overall5food5service4ambience4

Great food as always.

SM
StevenM
1 review
Dined on January 27, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Awesome place to dine. Service was outstanding and everyone was friendly.

A
vipAwesomeness
Raleigh
66 reviews
Dined on January 27, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

As always a five star experience. Great food!

DT
vipDanielleT
Western NC
13 reviews
Dined on January 25, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Wonderful dinner with outstanding tapas. Service was great and since it's winter we had no problem getting in and getting a table. Most other times are a different story and reservations are always needed a few days before. I have never had a single thing here that didnt impress. Drinks are strong and fresh ingredients really make it! Staff was personable and did not rush us. Food was top notch!

FB
FredB
Wilmington
1 review
Dined on January 24, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Service and food both top notch. Menu is diverse and interesting. Always pleases.

SL
ShaunL
1 review
Dined on January 18, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

One of the best places in carteret county to eat!

DN
DonN
Wilmington
1 review
Dined on January 10, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We love the owners, love the staff, love the food! What's not to love?

TP
TeresaP
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on December 19, 2020
Overall4food5service5ambience3

We love Circa 81 - try to visit it every time we come to the Crystal Coast! The regular menu options are consistently flavorable, interesting and filling. We tried a nightly special of scallops that were creative and fabulous - and scallops require careful preparation and cooking - this dish did not disappoint. Our waiter Sean was purposeful in the arrangement of our 12 Tapas choices, creating an Epicurean's delight! Delicious holiday cocktail added to the fun of our holiday celebration.

BT
BrianT
1 review
Dined on December 18, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Fantastic. Delicious food, constantly attentive staff, appealing atmosphere. An appetizer, 4 small plates (very filling), 4 beverages for $96 including 20% tip. Will be back.

G
Gurk
Richmond
15 reviews
Dined on December 12, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We always enjoy our meals At Circa!!! The food is delicious and consistent. The service is outstanding and the the menu is great fun!!

BR
BRIANL
Charleston
1 review
Dined on December 12, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great date night restaurant. Be sure to make a reservation. Well worth the drive from New Bern.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Western NC
1 review
Dined on December 6, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Always great food here at this restaurant we enjoyed everything about our brunch!!!

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
Denver
11 reviews
Dined on December 3, 2020
Overall4food5service5ambience3

The evening started out questionable as when we arrived, the young man at the door said, your table is right over here - 2 top by the front door - he continued on to say that this nice booth could maybe be ours, but the people it was for, were 13 minutes late (web says grace period of 10 minutes on reservations) and he was going to call them - I stepped away and when I returned, he told me that they were on the way... my comment to him was, why not give us the booth as we are here on time, and since they are not here, give them the two top - he chucked and walked away.

So here is the saving grace to this visit - Kira. Had we been at the booth, we would not have experienced the pleasure of Kira. Wow - what service, what a joy, and the food was amazing as well. Kudos to you Kira!!! We appreciate you!!!

Granted these are tricky times, and tables by doors are bummers, and the question to management - since we arrived 5 minutes before our reservation, Should we have had the booth? Or should it have been held for 20 minutes for other diners - who didn’t seem related to staff, or be frequent diners, or friends of the restaurant.

Circa 81 Tapas & Cocktaileria
Responded on December 5, 2020

Thank you for your feedback re visit. We will share this with our team. Our apologies for any disappointment related to the seating. The other table had specifically requested the booth and we do our best to honor requests when reservations are made. Right now, being at limited capacity and with seating restrictions we don't have as much flexibility as we would normally. We appreciate your feedback so we can take it as an opportunity to learn.We hope to have the opportunity to serve you again!

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SV
StephenV
Raleigh
4 reviews
Dined on November 29, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Best restaurant around the crystal coast for Sunday brunch .

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
Charleston
9 reviews
Dined on November 27, 2020
Overall4food4service3ambience5

Eating here is like taking a trip down memory lane. I didn’t mind that! The scallops and the crab dip missed the mark.
Our bartender/server kept disappearing for long periods of times and the other 2 bartenders did not do anything for for us.

RC
RogCon
Richmond
1 review
Dined on November 27, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience3

We have eaten here 3 times and each time the food was very good. Wait staff is friendly and good!
Will be going again soon! I recommend to anyone looking for a different option at the beach!

EC
EastCoastLocal
Wilmington
1 review
Dined on October 30, 2020
Overall5food5service4ambience4

Food is fantastic, atmosphere is casual and prices are reasonable. Circa 81 is one of our favorite places for those once a year special occasions.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Pittsburgh
1 review
Dined on October 29, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We had an excellent time! Food was great!

l
viplaidback
Raleigh
4 reviews
Dined on October 25, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Tasty good food, wish they would bring back the mozzerella app.

S
Simm
1 review
Dined on October 23, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Wonderful! Great place to go with friends for a night out!

DM
DavidM
Denver
2 reviews
Dined on October 23, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Amazing experience. First time there for us, very romantic, great atmosphere. Wonderful Service.

AR
AprilR
Raleigh
18 reviews
Dined on October 22, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

We continue to be impressed with every we have there. But the pork belly is the best we’ve had, anywhere!

OT
OpenTable Diner
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on October 18, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Circa 81 is consistently outstanding with amazing food and service.

FAQs

Circa 81 Tapas & Cocktaileria offers takeout which you can order by calling the restaurant at (252) 648-8300.

Circa 81 Tapas & Cocktaileria is rated 4.8 stars by 680 OpenTable diners.

Yes, you can generally book this restaurant by choosing the date, time and party size on OpenTable. Due to local restrictions, this restaurant may not be accepting reservations at the moment.

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