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Circa 81 Tapas & Cocktaileria, Morehead City, NC

Circa 81 Tapas & Cocktaileria

4.8
4.8
947 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 7 times today

Additional information

  • Dining style

    Casual Elegant

  • 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

Popular dishes

What 947 people are saying

Overall ratings and reviews

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

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

NoiseModerate

Loved For

  • Coastal North Carolina

    Best Overall

  • Coastal North Carolina

    Best Service

  • Coastal North Carolina

    Best Value

  • Coastal North Carolina

    Great for Brunch

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Filters

  1. IL

    IrisLady

    Raleigh

    6 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    6 reviews

    Dined on November 13, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience4
    The tapas are always great and generous portions for the price. The staff is attentive and our only complaint is that the springs on the bench seat are fairly stiff.
  2. S

    Shenac

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on November 12, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    If I had to choose it's the pot stickers for me. So tender so jucey. Yet, the Ashe County cheeses..... They had a cheddar with chive and onion, holy moly that delicious! I paired it with my Benton Ham on the bread that came with it. Absolutely DELICIOUS!!!! Also they have a white sangria. The bartender we had, put his soul in that drink it was so good to me. I'd go back just for the sangria and that cheese, but mainly for that sangria. Ha.
  3. RV

    RVAfoodie

    Richmond

    27 reviews

    4.0

    27 reviews

    Dined on November 12, 2022

    overall4food5service5ambience4
    Food was great. Ordered salmon salad and tuna taco specials that were delicious! Will be dining back here soon!
  4. NC

    NikiC

    Wilmington

    5 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on November 10, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    We always love eating here! The food is delicious every time! Sean is a wonderful server and Pete makes everyone feel like family. Amazing staff, great food! Highly recommend
  5. KC

    KitCat

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on November 4, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Unique cocktails and delicious tappas. Nice quiet atmosphere and friendly staff.
  6. CP

    CallmePatti

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on November 3, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Sheer perfection in creative and delicious food, personable and professional service, yummy cocktails. We love their tapas and dream of their pork belly, rosemary beef and tuna plates...and just about everything else!
  7. j

    jenanderic

    Washington DC

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on October 29, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience3
    Outstanding food and service- will definitely visit again
  8. B

    Bruce

    Raleigh

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on October 23, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Great Sunday brunch with a big menu to choose from.
  9. TB

    TriciaB

    Raleigh

    4 reviews

    5.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on October 19, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience4
    6 of us went for lunch. Everyone enjoyed their food. The service was great. It was a little chilly inside, but the weather had just changed. We will be back again!
  10. T

    Thh0102

    Orlando

    1 review

    4.0

    1 review

    Dined on October 15, 2022

    overall4food4service4ambience3
    We had a great evening - food was good,service was good. Noise level was higher than norm but I feel the tables are just a bit too close for comfort.
  11. a

    allie

    Miami

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on October 15, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    What can I say? This place is perfect! From location, food, and service all together -
  12. TB

    TinaB

    Raleigh

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on October 14, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    We enjoyed our lunch, food and service was fantastic.
  13. KH

    KennethH

    1 review

    2.0

    1 review

    Dined on October 7, 2022

    overall2food1service3ambience4
    Very unimpressed, had short rib, brie cheese, only about 3 bites of meat 50% fat, brie cheese did not taste right. Brussel sprouts were ok. Would not return.

    Circa 81 Tapas & CocktaileriaResponded on October 9, 2022Hi Kenneth, we're so sorry to hear you did not enjoy your meal. We are always happy to refund or replace any items. The brie & brussel sprouts are two of our top sellers and crowd favorites, so I hate to hear you did not like them. If you'd like to contact us directly we'd be happy to process a refund for those items. The short rib was a special feature, so I appreciate the feedback that your piece was on the fattier side - my apologies. Thanks for your time!

  14. J

    Josh

    1 review

    4.0

    1 review

    Dined on October 2, 2022

    overall4food5service5ambience5
    Food was perfect, perfect portions. Drinks were good, mojitos were a little heavy handed. Atmosphere was good, only downfall I would say is the booths of being able to feel people sit back and listening to them talk loudly. But it is a great place. Keep it up chef and staff
  15. CD

    CathD

    Cleveland

    4 reviews

    5.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on October 2, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Deceiving from the outside bc its in a strip area but inside its warm, beautiful decor, & comfortable seatimg options. Food was outstanding and fun to try several dishes since it’s served tapas style.
  16. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on October 2, 2022

    overall5food4service5ambience5
    Knowledgeable and attentive staff served excellent food. The sesame crusted tuna is amazing!
  17. N

    Neurad1

    Raleigh

    47 reviews

    vip
    3.0

    47 reviews

    Dined on October 2, 2022

    overall3food3service3ambience3
    We drove from New Bern (about 40 minutes) for brunch here on recommendation for friends. It was a good breakfast, but not really worth the drive, to be frank. I ordered the Circa 81 Benedict (poached eggs on crabcakes on grits). The portions were small and the crabcakes were fried quite brown. One of my poached eggs was poached hard. The accompanying breakfast potatoes were good. My wife got a breakfast sandwich (egg, bacon, cheese) which was good...she enjoyed it. The coffee was pretty bland/weak, not great for breakfast.
  18. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on September 29, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Rebecca and Pete provided excellent service, and the martinis and food were excellent, as always.
  19. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Raleigh

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on September 25, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Great food and service. Perfect sized taps to get 4 or 5 plates for two. Will visit again when we’re back in town.
  20. BB

    BeckyB

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on September 18, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience4
    This was our first experience at Circa 81 and we will definitely be back! The food was amazing and the cocktails were very refreshing. The staff was very friendly. We look forward to our next opportunity to visit.
  21. SJ

    ShannonJ

    Tahoe

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on September 17, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    We have been to Circa 81 twice, and we love it! The staff is well informed about the menu and nightly specials. We love when a server has favorites and shares those with us, it's always delicious. Bartender is a master at his craft. Never a let down on the flavors. It's our new fav in Morehead City. We will be back.
  22. RC

    RosemaryC

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on September 17, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Went for husband's birthday. Great service. Excellent tapas and cocktails. Couldn't have asked for anything better. Will definitely be back
  23. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Raleigh

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on September 15, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Always outstanding service and delicious food! One of my favorite restaurants!
  24. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Raleigh

    3 reviews

    5.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on September 14, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience4
    Great food, attentive staff, great experience.
  25. JP

    JacP

    Greensboro

    13 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    13 reviews

    Dined on September 10, 2022

    overall5food4service5ambience5
    Favorites were great as usual. Rosemary beef, black bean quesadilla with chicken, Brussel sprouts, sesame seared tuna. Crab dip was great as usual but wish it were a larger portion. Very small. Crème brûlée was delicious but very tiny. Key lime pie was delicious and nice portion. Service was excellent as always. Good mojitos as always. Circa is always our go to!
  26. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Raleigh

    6 reviews

    5.0

    6 reviews

    Dined on September 4, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Always great food and service!
  27. DH

    DenardH

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on September 3, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    the most attentive staff of servers we have seen in a long time...multiple attention from all wait staff was refreshing
  28. RC

    RachelC

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on September 1, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    We come to Circa 81 every year on our trip to Emerald Isle. The food is always wonderful along with the service and atmosphere. We love doing a variety of small plates. Shaun was an excellent server!
  29. BA

    BarbaraAB

    New England

    11 reviews

    5.0

    11 reviews

    Dined on September 1, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Simply our favorite place to eat at the beach. Myriad of choices. Excellent small plate specials and a creative list of $5 mojitos on Wednesday and $5 martinis on Thursday.
  30. C

    Chris

    Charlotte

    5 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on August 26, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Always a wonderful meal,’professional and courteous staff, and all around one of my favorites. Never miss! Thank you!
  31. RK

    RyanK

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on August 26, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Tapas: that’s all you need to know. It has meat, seafood, and veggie options. I found 9-10 things on the list I liked, so just asked the others at the table what caught their eye. I expected to have a clunker, something I didn’t like: nope. Good value, fast food, good service. Will return.
  32. RW

    ReneeW

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on August 25, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Amazing from start to finish. It always is! Thanks for making my birthday so special! ❤️
  33. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Baltimore

    4 reviews

    4.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on August 20, 2022

    overall4food4service5ambience5
    The bruschetta is a must have when visiting along with the garlic shrimp! Service was fantastic, very friendly and attentive. Dessert was lack luster with the chocolate creme brûlée that did not taste much like chocolate and the peach cheesecake was dry. We will definitely be back for dinner but I’d vote to make a second stop for dessert after dinner at Circa 81 on our next visit.
  34. DP

    DarciP

    Detroit

    1 review

    4.0

    1 review

    Dined on August 18, 2022

    overall4food5service3ambience5
    Food, wine list, and atmosphere are fantastic. I only knocked it down on service because my waiter smelled strongly of smoke and made me lose my appetite.
  35. DZ

    DavidZ

    Wilmington

    4 reviews

    5.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on August 17, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Excellent food. Excellent atmosphere. We eat here every time our family visits Emerald Isle.
  36. P

    Partyof6

    Western NC

    7 reviews

    5.0

    7 reviews

    Dined on August 13, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience4
    We had the lamb chops and they were very good. We had the key lime pie for dessert - it was light and not too heavy - very good. The host and server were friendly and attentive. This was our first time to this restaurant and we will definitely be returning.
  37. JA

    JoAnnD

    Philadelphia

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on August 12, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Best flavored food I’ve had. Everything is so unique and quality. The staff make the experience exceptional.
  38. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Charleston

    5 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on August 12, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Amazing food and servers. Definitely one of our favorite places to eat!
  39. T

    Tmoebius

    Greensboro

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on August 10, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience4
    The crab dip is amazing! I would go multiple times a week, just for the crab dip! She crab soup is also fabulous! There hasn’t been anything I didn’t like!
  40. B

    Brian

    Raleigh

    1 review

    vip
    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on August 10, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    We love Circa 81. Randall always takes such good care of us and we will be back soon. Thanks!

Safety precautions

  • Cleaning & sanitizing

    • Surfaces sanitized between seatings
    • Digital, disposable or sanitized menu provided
  • Screening

    • Sick staff prohibited in the workplace

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 947 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 7 times today
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

  • 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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