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

4.8

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.8

service

4.7

ambience

4.4

value

4.6

noise

Moderate

100% would recommend it to a friend

Tapas (18)
Good for a Date (16)
Creative Cuisine (14)
See All
Fit for Foodies (10)
Good for Anniversaries (10)
Tasting Menu (10)
Handcrafted Cocktails (9)
Local Ingredients (9)
Special Occasion (9)
Casual (9)
Sunday Lunch (8)
Romantic (8)
Worth the Drive (8)
Good for Birthdays (8)
Neighborhood Gem (7)
Gluten Free Options (6)
Business Meals (6)
Bar Seating (6)
Great for Brunch (6)
Authentic (5)
Quiet Conversation (5)
Happy Hour (5)
Pre/post Theatre (5)
Kid-friendly (4)
Great for Lunch (4)
Vibrant Bar Scene (4)
Comfort Food (4)
Healthy (4)
Notable Wine List (4)
Good for Groups (4)
Outstanding Value (3)
Great Beer (3)
Modern Decor (3)
Fun (3)
Seasonal (3)
Cozy (3)
Disabled Access (2)
Late-night Find (2)
People Watching (2)
Good Vegetarian Options (2)
Organic (2)
Family Style (2)
Hot Spot (1)
Vegan (1)
Great for Outdoor Dining (1)
Quick Bite (1)
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350 reviews
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 (Philadelphia)·Dined on May 18, 2017

We were vacationing in the area and noticed an advertisement for Circa 81.
We had time to enjoy our martini before the bar area was closed for a private party.
The staff were friendly and service was good. There was plenty for f tapas choices; we chose the rosemary beef and the duck. Both were delicious. Since we were on vacation we splurged and ordered the key lime pie which was out of thIs world!!

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Tapas
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (Raleigh)·Dined on May 12, 2017

great, adventurous cuisine along the crystal coast. in a geographic setting (Emerald Isle, Atlantic Beach, Morehead City, Beaufort) where restaurants come and go too quickly and where the quality is usually subpar and the prices over the top, Circa 81 was a breath of fresh air. Yes, it's a bit pricey, but the quality and creativity is there to match. Plus, nearly all restaurants along the coast are overpriced, so at least here you get what you pay for. The tapas setting also allows you to be adventurous, as well as spend-thrift if money is tight, or enjoy smaller portions if you're not too hungry.

Our favorites were the pork belly, crab dip, and cocktails (Caipirinha and sangria). But the dessert was absolutely fantastic. The Key Lime pie is made fresh and was, arguably, the best slice I've ever had. And the turtle cheesecake was equally delicious.

The staff was very accommodating to our gluten-free needs.

Highly recommend!

Tags: Gluten Free Options, Notable Wine List, Creative Cuisine, Good for a Date, Casual, Handcrafted Cocktails, Tasting Menu, Worth the Drive, Quiet Conversation, Good for Anniversaries, Seasonal, Special Occasion, Romantic, Authentic, Tapas, Good for Birthdays
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience3
service5
value4

 
 (Raleigh)·Dined on May 5, 2017

Wonderful food and service! A must if you are in the area! Ask for Alex-she is awesome!!!

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

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on May 5, 2017

Our cocktails were amazing and the tapas were just as good. My friend and I had a fabulous time. We'll be back!

Tags: Tasting Menu
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Raleigh)·Dined on April 29, 2017

The service was excellent. Great selection of cocktails. Unique and varied tapas menu. Everything we tried was delicious.

Tags: Local Ingredients, Tapas, Romantic, Fit for Foodies, Good for a Date, Good for Anniversaries, Quiet Conversation, Creative Cuisine
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Raleigh)·Dined on April 28, 2017

Have wanted to visit this restaurant for a long time. It lived up to our expectations.

Tags: Special Occasion, Tasting Menu
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Wilmington)·Dined on April 23, 2017

Best , most moist swordfish, I've ever had. All of the small plates were delicious. Our waiter Paul was a delight.

Well worth the drive from the beach.

Tags: Bar Seating, Neighborhood Gem, Happy Hour, Healthy, Cozy, Pre/post Theatre, Quick Bite, Great for Brunch
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value5

vip
 (Philadelphia)·Dined on April 16, 2017

We went to Circa 81 on a Sunday evening, where it is sometimes hard to find restaurants open in Morehead City off season - and we are glad they were open as we had a tasty, memorable, and very enjoyable dining experience. The drinks were great - generous pours and well made cocktails - and the tapas selections we made were exceptional across the board. We had been to Circa81 in the past, and thought it was a good - but not great - choice. After this time, it will now be at the top of our list!

Tags: Local Ingredients, Good for Groups, Comfort Food, Great Beer
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (Raleigh)·Dined on April 16, 2017

Food was quite good but our server only brought 3 things at a time (it's a Tapas restaurant) and we each had something to eat or share - but the grouping was not as we'd have wished. However, we didn't understand that we should have been very specific at the beginning. so know what you want when! And ask for HOT coffee if that is what you want. Our decaf was cool. ..they happily corrected it.

Tags: Tasting Menu
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience3
service3
value3

 
 (Raleigh)·Dined on April 15, 2017

Wonderful dining experience!

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

vip
 (Raleigh)·Dined on April 15, 2017

This was a pleasant surprise for my family and me. My kids loved this place as well.
The food was authentically delicious!! The service was excellent, and wow! the homemade desserts were to die for. We loved it!! This is a must-go-to place, whenever we visit Morehead City again.

Tags: Tasting Menu, Good for Anniversaries, Worth the Drive, Authentic, Family Style, Fit for Foodies, Local Ingredients, Neighborhood Gem, Good for a Date, Special Occasion, Kid-friendly, Gluten Free Options, Tapas, Casual
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Raleigh)·Dined on April 14, 2017

One of the best meals I have ever had! Brussel sprouts are awesome! Trying to figure out how to duplicate the sauce. The duck was cooked to perfection. Will definitely go back when I visit Morehead again!

Tags: Special Occasion, Good for Groups, Vegan, Casual, Creative Cuisine, Handcrafted Cocktails, Business Meals, Good Vegetarian Options, Romantic, Good for a Date
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on April 10, 2017

Always amazing. Never disappoints. Our favorite place to eat at the beach!

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

 
 (Raleigh)·Dined on April 9, 2017

We very much enjoyed our meal at Circa 81. We thought the mojitos were yummy esp the ginger one. The restaurant was very quiet. We ordered many small tapas and the crab was the best. We will probably visit again.

Tags: Good for Anniversaries, Creative Cuisine, Fit for Foodies
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Raleigh)·Dined on April 8, 2017

One of our favorite restaurants on the Crystal Coast. They have large plates and nightly specials but we almost always order from the tapas menu. Some of our favorites: the Chef's Tour of cheese and charcuterie, gambas al ajillo (shrimp, garlic, olive oil), medjool dates (with bacon and chevre), pot stickers, Brussel sprouts. Consistently excellent service.

Tags: Pre/post Theatre, Good for Anniversaries, Fit for Foodies, Happy Hour, Creative Cuisine, Handcrafted Cocktails, Tapas, Neighborhood Gem, Bar Seating
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value5

vip
 (Columbus)·Dined on April 3, 2017

Jamie was a fantastic server. We had the she crab soup, the truffle pork belly, and the mixed grill. Everything was amazing! Go there. Do it.

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

vip
 (Raleigh)·Dined on April 1, 2017

Although there are some great places to get your local NC fried seafood in AB, Circa 81 sets the bar for dining in AB. Wife and I had another great experience and we've been to dozens of local spots. Great cocktails, NC cheese plate, pork, shrimp, and the she crab soup tonight. Doesn't matter if you're doing a date night, family night, bunch or just want a killer drink C81 has always been our go to.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value5

 
 (Wilmington)·Dined on March 31, 2017

Great food and staff! The waitress was most helpful when it came to decide our menu. Good service.

Tags: Good for a Date, Casual
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Wilmington)·Dined on March 24, 2017

We went to Circa 81 for my birthday with my friends, we were there for almost three hours and had a blast! Chef Josh came out to the table to say hello and wish me a Happy Birthday. We were not rushed, our food was good, waitress very good she understood we didn't want to be rushed , knew the menu.

Tags: Tapas, Pre/post Theatre, Fun, Creative Cuisine, Casual, Good for Birthdays, Local Ingredients
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service4
value4

vip
 (Chicago)·Dined on March 22, 2017

Excellent service and food.

Tags: Organic, Comfort Food, Handcrafted Cocktails, Modern Decor, Casual, Local Ingredients
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Raleigh)·Dined on March 12, 2017

Surprisingly great! Service was excellent as was food. Best Devils on Horseback and garlic shrimp we've ever had. Cocktails could be a little more creative but champagne mojito was delicious. Music playlist was awesome. Will definitely be back next time we visit Beaufort.

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food5
ambience4
service5
value5

 
 (Wilmington)·Dined on March 5, 2017

Great Place to eat. Food was great and service as well. Looking forward to going back to the beach just to eat there.

Tags: Good for Birthdays, Great for Lunch, Tasting Menu, Sunday Lunch, Worth the Drive, Great for Brunch, Kid-friendly
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Raleigh)·Dined on March 4, 2017

Our experience was Perfect! I would highly recommend this restaurant to anyone who wants something beyond the usual seafood fare in Morehead City.

Tags: Good for a Date, Authentic, Vibrant Bar Scene
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Baltimore)·Dined on February 26, 2017

Great brunch! Locally owned and operated! Creative specials make this a great place to meet friends!

Tags: Fit for Foodies
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food5
ambience4
service4
value3

 
 (Wilmington)·Dined on February 26, 2017

There for Sunday brunch with friends. Excellent eggs. Had some dietary needs and waitress suggested some excellent substitutions with no additional cost.

Tags: Good for Anniversaries, Good for Groups, Tapas
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Wilmington)·Dined on February 25, 2017

We love Beaufort Olive oils and we're so excited there is a restaurant that incorporates the oils into the food!!! Amazing dining and great service!! Spectacular good!! Cant wait to visit again!! Compliments to the chef!!!

Tags: Good for a Date, Modern Decor, Happy Hour, Late-night Find, Romantic, Sunday Lunch, Bar Seating, Vibrant Bar Scene, Gluten Free Options, People Watching, Pre/post Theatre
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Raleigh)·Dined on February 19, 2017

Sunday late lunch- friendly staff, food quality was excellent, drinks were great, would recommend and return, the only drawback for us is the distance
next time in Morehead City we will stop in again!

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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (Wilmington)·Dined on February 19, 2017

I went in for the first time because I've been buying olive oil from the owner at his Swansboro location. The prices of the food are great along with the presentation. My husband and I both ordered a version of their eggs Benedict and both agreed that the hollandaise sauce was bland. There wasn't really any flavor to it. I also would have like if my eggs had yolk (I thought eggs benedict always came with yolk but maybe that isn't always the case?). Overall, I would give it another try but order something else on the menu.

Tags: Good for Birthdays, Sunday Lunch, Business Meals, Kid-friendly, Good for a Date, Neighborhood Gem
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food3
ambience4
service3
value5

 
 (Raleigh)·Dined on February 17, 2017

Great collection of tapas dishes to share including a few specials. Plate sizes were good for tapas.

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food5
ambience4
service4
value5

 
 (Wilmington)·Dined on February 17, 2017

We have had the Circa 81 experience several months ago with a friends outing and had a wonderful time and haven't stopped talking about it. This time it was our priviledge to take a friend out for Circa 81. Wonderful evening!

Tags: Good for Anniversaries, Quiet Conversation, Tasting Menu, Tapas, Good for a Date, Worth the Drive, Good Vegetarian Options
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (Raleigh)·Dined on February 15, 2017

We went to Circa for a business/birthday lunch. There were 5 of us and the service and our meals were top shelf!

Tags: Tasting Menu, Casual, Local Ingredients, Great for Brunch, Authentic, Special Occasion, Outstanding Value, Great for Lunch, Good for Birthdays, Creative Cuisine, Modern Decor, Business Meals, Good for a Date, Handcrafted Cocktails, Happy Hour, Tapas
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Raleigh)·Dined on February 14, 2017

The owners have figured out the perfect formula... great food, nice ambiance, well-trained and friendly staff. Thank you for an AWESOME prix fine meal. The cold poached lobster was FABULOUS, the duck crispy and perfectly prepared, and the gateau was melt-in-your mouth good.

Tags: Seasonal, Special Occasion, People Watching, Romantic, Great for Lunch, Great for Brunch, Vibrant Bar Scene, Good for a Date, Sunday Lunch, Hot Spot, Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List, Good for Birthdays, Tapas, Comfort Food, Worth the Drive, Healthy, Disabled Access, Casual, Fun, Kid-friendly, Good for Anniversaries, Creative Cuisine, Business Meals
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Las Vegas)·Dined on February 11, 2017

Great date night with my husband and my son! Love Circa! The staff is so sweet and food is always amazing!!

Tags: Local Ingredients
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Wilmington)·Dined on February 11, 2017

I've been a patron many times before and took a date there for her first visit. She absolutely loved it... she even had grits for the first time and enjoyed them. The truffle mac and cheese is a must have. Service is always great, too.

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food5
ambience5
service5

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on February 2, 2017

Circa 81 is one of our go to restaurants for date night. The food is always amazing, the staff is always friendly, and it is always a pleasant dining experience.

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

 
 (Wilmington)·Dined on February 1, 2017

Dined on $5 wine night. House wine very good! Tapas specials creative and very tasty. Will dine there again.

Tags: Worth the Drive, Special Occasion, Tapas, Good for a Date, Creative Cuisine
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Western NC)·Dined on January 28, 2017

Mixed grill was excellent

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food4
ambience3
service4

 
 (Wilmington)·Dined on January 20, 2017

Very good food in reasonable quantities. Nice selection and very good service.

Tags: Modern Decor, Creative Cuisine, Tapas, Authentic, Good Vegetarian Options, Worth the Drive, Casual
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Wilmington)·Dined on January 18, 2017

Really nice wine for $5
Specials - shrimp grits and lamb chops best we have had for quite awhile

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Creative Cuisine
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service4
value5

 
 (Raleigh)·Dined on January 1, 2017

We are so happy we stumbled across this local gem. I love TAPAS and these guys hit the nail on the head. The wide array of tapas offered were unique and flavorful. I also had an amazing Pomegranate Mojito.

Tags: Special Occasion, Neighborhood Gem, Good for a Date, Tasting Menu
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service4
value5

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