Circa 81 Tapas & Cocktaileria

4.9
786 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.

Safety precautions

Cleaning & Sanitizing
  • Surfaces sanitized between seatings
  • Digital, disposable or sanitized menu provided
Screening
  • Sick staff prohibited in the workplace
What 786 people are saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.9based on recent ratings
4.9
food
4.8
service
4.7
ambience
4.7
value
Noise · Moderate
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OT
vipOpenTable Diner
Raleigh
16 reviews
Dined on November 19, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience4

So good - as always!

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on November 19, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We have never been disappointed at Circa 81. Excellent food and service; not rushed so we had time to catch up after a long Covid break where we were not comfortable to get together. The ability to get small or large plates provides something for emery one.

SM
ShaeM
1 review
Dined on November 14, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Amazing food!! I love brunch and this place will definitely be my new brunch place when I am visiting my beach house!

LM
LMOODY85
Charleston
2 reviews
Dined on November 12, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Really yummy food, great drinks, and great service!

OT
OpenTable Diner
Hawaii
11 reviews
Dined on November 12, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

A fantastic dining experience. Order the Key Lime Pie!!

OT
OpenTable Diner
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on November 11, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Fabulous food, service and atmosphere! Always a favorite when I’m visiting Atlantic Beach!

MK
MKandKK27540
Raleigh
17 reviews
Dined on November 10, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Due to COVID, haven't been there in a while (doing take out). Didn't realize how much we'd missed it. 5 tapas dishes + newly offered and moderately priced Earthquake Zin ... excellent. Outstanding service -- and wine knowledge -- by server Miss R. Brooks.

LJ
LindsayJ
Little Rock
2 reviews
Dined on October 30, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Everything was great!! Even them telling us Happy Date Night!! Will definitely be going back!!

E
Eyechatter
New York Area
14 reviews
Dined on October 28, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great service, food and one of favorite Morehead City restaurants!

OT
OpenTable Diner
Las Vegas
6 reviews
Dined on October 23, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Phenomenal staff and food!! Waitress was kind and knew the menu well, service was top notch. This place has become a favorite.

D
Dthompson
Raleigh
20 reviews
Dined on October 17, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent brunch! The food and service were fabulous!

G
Gurk
Richmond
19 reviews
Dined on October 16, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great as always.

ML
MariaL
Miami
1 review
Dined on October 13, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent food and service! This restaurant never disappoints.

MB
vipMikeB
Pittsburgh
10 reviews
Dined on October 13, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Our favorite restaurant when visiting

S
Southbay
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on October 9, 2021
Overall4food4service5ambience2

We went to Circa 81 for the first time, celebrating a milestone life event. The food was very good, and the service was exemplar. Jaime was very attentive and friendly. However, the hostess was a bit slovenly dressed in a t-shirt that said “But first, coffee”. Not really what I want to be greeted by when I come in to have a celebratory meal, dropping +$100 on dinner. Also, the front door area and siding was dirty and could use some fresh paint. The interior was clean and comfortable, but no real atmosphere.

CK
ChrisK
Wilmington
1 review
Dined on October 6, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Many times we have visited, and each and every time everything is excellent.

LH
LorettaH
1 review
Dined on October 3, 2021
Overall3food4service1ambience4

Circa Benedict was fabulous, but the side of home fries were soft and flavorless. Shrimp and grits was delicious and a reasonably-sized portion. Orange basil mojito was good (a little on the strong side, but my husband liked that). $15 pitcher of Cava Sangria was yummy, like a mix of a mimosa and a sangria. Hosts at front door were pleasant, server was a little slow to greet, but friendly and energetic, took our order, delivered our drinks, never came back to check on us. He did not seem busy with work, but was always busy chit-chatting with other customers. After we had finished our meal, he yelled across the room from behind the bar and asked how we were doing, as he could see we were looking at the drink menu again. I told him we wanted to order more drinks. He continued to chit-chat with the single couple ar the bar for another 10-15 minutes before he finally came to our table to get our drink order. By then, my husband had submitted to just drinking from my sangria pitcher.. We told him we just wanted our check, which he promptly brought over, brazenly included with the bill was a comment card, which I used to describe our disappointing dining experience. Handed the comment card to an older gentleman who appeared to possibly be the owner or manager. With the comments provided, I expected some sort of response from management from a restaurant with the appearance and price-point of an upper-scale dining establishment, but... crickets.

Circa 81 Tapas & Cocktaileria
Responded on October 6, 2021

We are so sorry to hear you did not have a great dining experience and will share your feedback with our team. Neither of the owners were aware of the feedback until receiving this review. We appreciate your candid feedback and will work to address your concerns. We take great pride in providing an outstanding dining experience and apologize that we missed the mark. Thank you for sharing your concerns and for your time.

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SP
SteveP
Raleigh
11 reviews
Dined on October 3, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The best service and food around. The people are friendly and the venue is awesome. Makes my wife happy every visit. This is a special place to go.

NR
NancyR
1 review
Dined on October 1, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent food and excellent service. I would highly recommend it.

AL
vipAnneL
Chicago
18 reviews
Dined on September 29, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience3

The food is inventive and delicious, portions good for tapas. Overall a fantastic meal from start to finish!

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
Louisville
17 reviews
Dined on September 29, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

A feast for the taste buds in every plate! And believe me, I’ve tried them all at least five times!

MB
vipMikeB
Pittsburgh
10 reviews
Dined on September 26, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Enjoyed my birthday brunch

s
stephaniel
1 review
Dined on September 24, 2021
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Great place for a date night. Small, intimate and plenty of choices for every taste preference. Reasonable prices and great service.

CB
CarolynB
1 review
Dined on September 18, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience4

My husband and I think it’s the best restaurant in Moorehead city!! And Beaufort combined!

H
vipHank22
Wilmington
52 reviews
Dined on September 15, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Food was delicious and service was excellent

d
dbg28
New York Area
10 reviews
Dined on September 9, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This restaurant is not only in my top 5 in NC but in NY/NJ as well. The tapas are creative and delicious. Our server last night, Nadia, was outstanding. I had a cucumber basil Mojito and it was the best cocktail I’ve had in NC I while on vacation in the past 2 weeks. We’ll be back next time we’re in NC.

BA
BARBARA
1 review
Dined on September 9, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food, fabulous service, delicious beverages as always

KG
KathrynG
Western NC
1 review
Dined on September 4, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Absolutely scrumptious!!! Will be a staple for us!!

SM
SarahM
Raleigh
4 reviews
Dined on September 4, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We celebrated my husband’s birthday at Circa. The food was delicious. We had 7-8 different tapas and a couple of the large plates. Everything was wonderful. The service was very friendly and attentive. We love Circa and will always visit when we’re in town.

RM
RobertM
Charleston
6 reviews
Dined on September 1, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Outstanding food, great service, friendly staff. Our go to place for date night.

j
jano
Wilmington
8 reviews
Dined on August 28, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food as always

NH
NottHeads
Baltimore
3 reviews
Dined on August 28, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We eat here every chance we get. Jamie was our server, she was fantastic. We wanted for nothing. The food is fanatics. Wonderful flavors and food combinations. Great bar menu. Seriously we’ve tried just about everything on the food menu. Try this gem, you won’t be disappointed.

MM
MichaelM
Raleigh
2 reviews
Dined on August 28, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Nice atmosphere, nice variety, food and service were on point. Definitely recommend.

NC
NCdiner
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on August 26, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Superb food and service! We ordered the gambas al ajillo, bread service, black bean quesadilla bites, potatoes bravas, rib eye and cavatappi shrimp pasta - SO DELICIOUS! Plus their moscow mule was great as well!

P
Pattim
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined on August 25, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

My favorite place in the whole world to eat. Everything was wonderful

OT
OpenTable Diner
Philadelphia
6 reviews
Dined on August 14, 2021
Overall4food4service3ambience4

Always enjoy Circa 81. Enjoy!

Report
S
vipSusan
Naples
10 reviews
Dined on August 11, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Every dish is delicious, many layers of flavors. Obviously a lot of effort put into developing the best flavors by chef and his staff.

We like how the staff works together to bring dishes out promptly when they are ready to be served.

We have had Sean our last two visits, and think he is a hard working, very knowledgeable member of the waitstaff.

We come back to Circa 81 every time we visit Emerald Isle- from our home in Pittsburgh- and we tell others about your restaurant as well!

OT
OpenTable Diner
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on August 11, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food and service was excellent. We are visiting from out of town, Northern VA. And wanted to find a nice place for a date night. We had the Shrimp and Gritts, Scallops and Ribeye Steak. All exceeded our expectations and were cooked to perfection. We also had a Mojito and Malbec (Don Miguel) which were also excellent. Would highly recommend this place.

JD
JohnD
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on August 11, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Our go to place in the area! Excellent selection of tasty well prepared tapas and large plates as well.

WR
WilliamR
1 review
Dined on August 8, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food and service were both outstanding.I recommend this restaurant 100%. The ribs and debris and the desserts we’re all fabulous

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 786 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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