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Circa 81 Tapas & Cocktaileria, Morehead City, NC

Circa 81 Tapas & Cocktaileria

4.9
4.9
1142 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.

Make a reservation

2 people

7:00 PM


Booked 3 times today

Order delivery or takeout

Additional information

  • Dining style
    Casual Elegant
  • Price
    $30 and under
  • Cuisines
    Tapas / Small Plates, Seafood, Southern
  • Hours of operation
    Brunch Sun 10:30 am–2:00 pm Lunch Wed–Sat 11:30 am–2:00 pm Dinner Mon, Wed, Thu, Sun 5:00 pm–9:00 pm Fri, Sat 5:00 pm–9:30 pm
  • Phone number
    (252) 648-8300
  • Payment options
    AMEX, Discover, Mastercard, Visa
  • Dress code
    Casual Dress
  • Executive chef
    Clarke Merrell
  • 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!
  • Private party facilities
    Circa 81 can be used for semi-private events or rented out and closed to the public for events. Contact us for details on special event bookings.
  • Neighborhood
    Beaufort / Morehead City
  • Cross street
    Across from EJW Outdoors
  • Parking details
    Big private lot. Will accommodate large vehicles
  • Public transit
    Taxi Cabs (sorry MHC does not offer public transportation)<br /><br />We are located 2.5 miles west of the Atlantic Beach bridge in Carteret Village Shopping Center.
  • Additional
    Bar/Lounge, Beer, BYO Wine, Cocktails, Corkage Fee, Delivery, Full Bar, Gluten-free Options, Non-Smoking, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine

What 1,142 people are saying

Overall ratings and reviews

Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant

4.9
4.9 based on recent ratings
  • 4.8Food
  • 4.8Service
  • 4.7Ambience
  • 4.6Value

NoiseModerate

Loved For

  • Coastal North Carolina

    Best Overall

  • Coastal North Carolina

    Best Value

  • Coastal North Carolina

    Great for brunch

  • Coastal North Carolina

    Lively

1,142 Reviews
  1. SandraL

    Wilmington

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined 2 days ago

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Very attentive crew. Good portions. Great bloody Mary!

    Is this helpful?

  2. DonnaB

    Baltimore

    4 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    4 reviews

    Dined 6 days ago

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Everything was delicious as always. Fried Provolone with Marinara sauce. Bruschetta, and Crab cakes were our choices. Great service as always!!

    Is this helpful?

  3. Drew58

    New York City

    79 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    79 reviews

    Dined on April 5, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Once again delicious food great drinks and great service . One of our favorite restaurants in Morehead !

    Is this helpful?

  4. OntheMark

    Wilmington

    27 reviews

    5.0

    27 reviews

    Dined on March 31, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Another great dining experience at Circa 81, enjoyed an Easter dinner with my 85 year old mother. The only complaint was the temperature of the dining room, a bit chilly, but we didn’t let that detract from the great dining experience. Our wait staff were on point, and we thoroughly enjoyed Paul.

    Is this helpful?

  5. RobertE

    Wilmington

    5 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on March 29, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Jaime served us very well and Peter was his usual amicable and funny guy. We come here often.

    Is this helpful?

  6. KatieP

    Pittsburgh

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on March 24, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 4
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 4
    Our brunch was absolutely amazing! They were able to seat us 30 min before our original reservations. The service was excellent and the staff were all extremely friendly, and very accommodating for our 1-year-old child!

    Is this helpful?

  7. KimH

    Baltimore

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on March 20, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Great Tapas and drunks! Old fashioned was outstanding.

    Is this helpful?

  8. jeffrey

    Washington DC

    5 reviews

    5.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on March 17, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 4
    Wonderful quality of food and service. Interesting dishes and lovely short wine selection.

    Is this helpful?

  9. lovetocoast

    Atlanta Metro

    11 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    11 reviews

    Dined on March 17, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Circa 81 has been a favorite for years. Whether it's dinner or Sunday brunch, the food and service are always perfect!

    Is this helpful?

  10. Deanna

    St. Louis

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on March 15, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Wonderful tapas restaurant in Morehead City. Such a long menu of choices that is was hard to narrow down but we choose the bruschetta, she crab soup and scallop special. Everything was so flavorful and well done. Sizes were enough for two with room for Blueberry yum yum dessert. Think this will be our new go to restaurant when we are in town!

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  11. JeannieS

    Nashville

    5 reviews

    5.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on March 8, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Circa 81 was excellent, as usual! We had several Tapas selections and each was delicious. For two people, had the small bread service, green olives, pot stickers, sweet potato quesadilla, gambas al ajillo, and asparagus. It was plenty of food (we almost ate it all!) and was served throughout our hour, or so, at the restaurant. Cocktails were red wine and a Painkiller - both just right. The service was friendly and attentive and there was never a lag in the food arriving and drinks refilled. The atmosphere is casual, friendly and special enough for a date night! We have eaten at Circa 81 many times and have never been disappointed!

    Is this helpful?

  12. OpenTable Diner

    Chicago

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on March 3, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Excellent food and service was outstanding. Had a really nice date night.

    Is this helpful?

  13. AshleyC

    Wilmington

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on February 25, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Delicious brunch and sangria. I had Circa 81 Benedict and it was very yummy. My friend and I had a great experience.

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  14. John

    Washington DC

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on February 24, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Great food, great drinks, great service. We love going to Circa 81 and always tell our friends.

    Is this helpful?

  15. DonnaB

    Baltimore

    4 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on February 24, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 4
    Great service as always! Moo and Brie sandwich was delicious as were the Tile fish.Tacos, Mussels and Shrimp n Grits! Always enjoy our dining experiences here!

    Is this helpful?

  16. RobertC

    Wilmington

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on February 23, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 3
    We love this restaurant. The scallop special last night was to die for. Great service

    Is this helpful?

  17. DanN

    San Francisco

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on February 18, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Great place for excellent food, drinks and service, without all of the noise foynd in most other restaurants.

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  18. OpenTable Diner

    Raleigh

    8 reviews

    5.0

    8 reviews

    Dined on February 17, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Excellent food and service! Great menu selections and bar service!

    Is this helpful?

  19. SydC

    Nashville

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on February 17, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Great Tapas night with family! Tried a bit of everything!

    Is this helpful?

  20. SarahD

    Wilmington

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on February 16, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 4
    Love this little restaurant and bar! The food is always delicious and our waitress Dani was very pleasant and helpful. Reservations are recommended. My only complaints are that the bench seats are lumpy and uncomfortable and need to be replaced. Also, there is no real vegan option other than salad, a fried potato dish and a couple of the sides, like edamame succotash. Surprising, for a such a hip place. Despite that, I would definitely recommend trying Circa 81!

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  21. DotP

    Wilmington

    7 reviews

    5.0

    7 reviews

    Dined on February 14, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Great food, great service. One of our favorite places.

    Is this helpful?

  22. RichR

    Wilmington

    2 reviews

    3.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on February 14, 2024

    1. Overall 3
    2. Food 2
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 4
    Had a reservation for Valentine's Day date with my wife. Circa 81 has typically been one of our favorite spots to go, and we have been there many times in the past. Typically the food is amazing, so I don't mind the fact that it is more on the pricey side. This night, my wife and I shared several diffent tapas, which were far below the usual quality. The worst part was the roasted brussel sprouts were undercooked and were soggy with sauce. Otherwise, the food which typically is very good was average at best. One of the more annoying factors was that I ordered a single drink off of their "special" Valentine's menu which did not have any prices listed. When the bill came, my single drink cost $18.00. I feel like that is excessive for a single martini sized drink, especially for a small town in North Carolina during the off-season.
    Circa 81 Tapas & CocktaileriaResponded on February 22, 2024
    Thank you for sharing your concerns, we are so sorry to hear you did not enjoy your meal and that we missed the mark on this visit. We are always more than happy to refund or replace any food item you did not enjoy and would be happy to do so for you - feel free to contact us directly. We will share your feedback with our team to ensure that we can work to improve and earn you back as a valued patron - thank you for your time and we hope to hear from you. Enjoy the rest of your day!

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  23. GinnyS

    Las Vegas

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on February 10, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    We really enjoyed our meal. Tons of choices and many options for gluten free.

    Is this helpful?

  24. MEKing

    Western NC

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on February 9, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Always a great meal here! Fun and relaxing. Perfect Friday night date!

    Is this helpful?

  25. JoeB

    Wilmington

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on February 7, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Circa 81 is always on point with incredible tapas and service from their staff! Definitely one of our favorite food experiences!

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  26. OpenTable Diner

    Wilmington

    3 reviews

    5.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on January 24, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 4
    3. Service 4
    4. Ambience 5
    Food was delicious and service was awesome as usual!

    Is this helpful?

  27. jeffrey

    Washington DC

    5 reviews

    5.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on January 11, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 4
    Excellent food and service. Nothing to complain about whatsoever.

    Is this helpful?

  28. EdithH

    Wilmington

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on January 10, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Wait staff was very attentive. Food came out quickly, was hot and delicious!

    Is this helpful?

  29. SarahC

    Wilmington

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on January 7, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Kira’s service was lovely - she always is. I have menu favorites that I stick to because they’re so good, but I tried the lobster special and it was, hands down, the best lobster I have ever had!

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  30. Hervey

    Western NC

    5 reviews

    5.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on January 5, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 4
    Great place friendly staff, good food and easy to get to.

    Is this helpful?

  31. Eater1

    Charlotte

    14 reviews

    5.0

    14 reviews

    Dined on January 1, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 4
    Great meal and experience - will visit again Great meal and experience - will visit again

    Is this helpful?

  32. OpenTable Diner

    Raleigh

    12 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    12 reviews

    Dined on December 31, 2023

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    The New Year’s Eve special menu for dinner was outstanding in every way.

    Is this helpful?

  33. GianH

    Orlando

    9 reviews

    5.0

    9 reviews

    Dined on December 31, 2023

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    First time visitor but not the last. Enjoyed New Year’s Eve day brunch. Highly recommended

    Is this helpful?

  34. Lish1078

    Wilmington

    7 reviews

    5.0

    7 reviews

    Dined on December 31, 2023

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    The entire experience was amazing as usual. This is by far one of our favorite restaurants ever!

    Is this helpful?

  35. MichaelO

    Charleston

    8 reviews

    5.0

    8 reviews

    Dined on December 30, 2023

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    We have eaten at Circa 81 a number of times before. Each time has been consistently excellent. The wide variety of delicious small dishes make a meal particularly enjoyable as each visit is like the first time.

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  36. DavidC

    Philadelphia

    4 reviews

    5.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on December 25, 2023

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 4
    As always, the Christmas Eve event was a delight. The specials were well done and the old standbys were reliable and delicious. The service was friendly and attentive. The prices are very reasonable, especially the wine list. We will be back!

    Is this helpful?

  37. TimothyG

    Wilmington

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on December 24, 2023

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    The food was very good and the atmosphere was quiet and relaxing.

    Is this helpful?

  38. OpenTable Diner

    Denver

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on December 24, 2023

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    The host who greeted us and continued to check in on us and fill up our water glasses was marvelous, our server was top-notch, and the food was just absolutely exquisite. My husband and I had a wonderful Christmas Eve dinner here, and there is no question that every time we are back in this area we will visit this restaurant at least one time. And we’re going to tell all our friends that they need to come and try it too.

    Is this helpful?

  39. SteveP

    Raleigh

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on December 24, 2023

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 4
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Great service , friendly staff & good food. Be sure to book in advance because Circa fills up fast. Ambiance inside & out is great. Drinks are delicious.

    Is this helpful?

  40. OpenTable Diner

    San Francisco

    3 reviews

    vip
    3.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on December 24, 2023

    1. Overall 3
    2. Food 3
    3. Service 3
    4. Ambience 3
    Let me start out by saying the staff was very accommodating with changing the time of our reservations, which we made the day before, and realized we had a conflict after the reservation was made. The specialty holiday cocktail was festive and delicious. However, the dish I had, the Eggs Benedict, was fair at best. The eggs and hollandaise sauce were tasty, but the ham was tough and tasted as if it was out of a package of lunch meat. The English muffin was also tough and tasted stale. I would have told the server; however, he was not really attentive to our table. I was disappointed today, as my expectations for Christmas Eve brunch were high based on the other times we have dined here.

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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 4.9 stars by 1142 OpenTable diners.

Yes, you can generally book this restaurant by choosing the date, time and party size on OpenTable.

Make a reservation

2 people

7:00 PM


Booked 3 times today

Order delivery or takeout

Google Map for Circa 81 Tapas & Cocktaileria

4650 C Arendell Street, Morehead City, NC 28557

Additional information

  • Cross street
    Across from EJW Outdoors
  • Neighborhood
    Beaufort / Morehead City
  • Hours of operation
    Brunch Sun 10:30 am–2:00 pm Lunch Wed–Sat 11:30 am–2:00 pm Dinner Mon, Wed, Thu, Sun 5:00 pm–9:00 pm Fri, Sat 5:00 pm–9:30 pm
  • Price
    $30 and under
  • Cuisines
    Tapas / Small Plates, Seafood, Southern
  • Dining style
    Casual Elegant
  • Dress code
    Casual Dress
  • 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.
  • Payment options
    AMEX, Discover, Mastercard, Visa
  • Executive chef
    Clarke Merrell
  • Additional
    Bar/Lounge, Beer, BYO Wine, Cocktails, Corkage Fee, Delivery, Full Bar, Gluten-free Options, Non-Smoking, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
  • Phone number
    (252) 648-8300
  • 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!
  • Private party facilities
    Circa 81 can be used for semi-private events or rented out and closed to the public for events. Contact us for details on special event bookings.
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