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
View Larger Map

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.circa-81.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.

Executive Chef:
Clarke Merrell

Additional:
Bar Dining, Beer, BYO Wine, Corkage Fee, Farm to Table, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Non-Smoking, 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

4.7

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.8

service

4.7

ambience

4.5

value

4.5

noise

Moderate

100% would recommend it to a friend

Tapas (15)
Good for a Date (14)
Creative Cuisine (11)
See All
Special Occasion (10)
Sunday Lunch (9)
Good for Birthdays (7)
Great for Brunch (7)
Casual (7)
Worth the Drive (7)
Handcrafted Cocktails (7)
Neighborhood Gem (6)
Good for Anniversaries (6)
Local Ingredients (6)
Tasting Menu (6)
Romantic (5)
Modern Decor (5)
Fit for Foodies (5)
Business Meals (5)
Notable Wine List (4)
Fun (4)
Gluten Free Options (4)
Bar Seating (4)
Great for Lunch (4)
Happy Hour (3)
Authentic (3)
Comfort Food (3)
Vibrant Bar Scene (3)
Pre/post Theatre (3)
Outstanding Value (3)
Healthy (3)
Kid-friendly (3)
Quiet Conversation (3)
Organic (2)
Good Vegetarian Options (2)
Seasonal (2)
Cozy (2)
Disabled Access (2)
People Watching (2)
Great Beer (2)
Late-night Find (2)
Good for Groups (2)
Hot Spot (1)
Great for Outdoor Dining (1)
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332 reviews
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 (Wilmington)·Dined 4 days ago

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 6 days ago

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.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
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
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
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!

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
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.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
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
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
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.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
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

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
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

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on December 31, 2016

We actually tried most everything on the menu with our party of 6! I have dined at many restaurants across the country....this is my favorite!!! Try the pork belly, truffle Mac and cheese and the SEARED TUNA EVEN IF U DON'T like it normally!!! Amazing place

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

 
 (Wilmington)·Dined on December 29, 2016

Service and food was excellent. Very much enjoyed the entire evening!

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

 
 (Wilmington)·Dined on December 24, 2016

The greeting from the hostess. The great service and the delicious food. Brussels sprouts and garlic shrimp were our favorite dishes tonight.

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

 
 (Raleigh)·Dined on December 21, 2016

Have eaten here repeatedly over the last several years. Our family and friends enjoy it as well. Service is always excellent, food well prepared and reservations in a beach community a real plus. We always order tapas and have rarely been disappointed. Nice variety with something for everyone and easily shared portions. Not inexpensive but a special night out.

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

 
 (Wilmington)·Dined on December 9, 2016

High expectations on quality food, somewhat disappointing. Not a good value, considering it was a $100 lunch for two. Service was very good.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food2
ambience3
service4
value2

 
 (Minneapolis)·Dined on November 27, 2016

Wonderful food, quick service, attentive waitress and omg the best brunch I've had in months!!!!!

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good for Anniversaries, Comfort Food, Afternoon Tea, Quiet Conversation, Bar Seating
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Wilmington)·Dined on November 19, 2016

We frequent this restaurant and have always had amazing service and the food is top notch. During this visit our service was more than lacking. Our drinks weren't refilled regularly and our server was generally inattentive. The food was great as usual! Love this restaurant and I hope the poor service we had this time doesn't become a pattern.

Tags: Good for Anniversaries, Romantic, Bar Seating, People Watching, Good for a Date, Gluten Free Options, Authentic, Tapas, Cozy, Notable Wine List
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service2
value4

 
 (Miami)·Dined on November 19, 2016

Perfect place to celebrate any occasion or just casual dinner!

Tags: Tasting Menu, Neighborhood Gem, Creative Cuisine, Romantic
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Wilmington)·Dined on November 5, 2016

One of my MOST favorite spots on earth! They accommodate us every time we come to eat - My husband has severe allergies and they are amazing about it... It is our safe spot!

Tags: Handcrafted Cocktails, Healthy, Sunday Lunch, Gluten Free Options, Good for Groups, Romantic, Notable Wine List, Organic, Disabled Access, Pre/post Theatre
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Richmond)·Dined on October 19, 2016

Unique selections.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service5

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on October 9, 2016

Always excellent and fun! Many many visits since the restaurant opened!

Tags: Bar Seating, Casual, Creative Cuisine, Great for Brunch, Authentic, Neighborhood Gem, Comfort Food
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Raleigh)·Dined on October 1, 2016

Delicious small plates, easy to share. Laid back atmosphere. TVs at bar w sports on.

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food5
ambience4
service4

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on September 30, 2016

This is a favorite of ours. We are seasonal visitors to Morehead but have family in the area. On our previous visit, a year ago, we brought 25 people for a celebration and Circa 81 handled it beautifully.

Last week we returned. I had she crab soup-excellent, octopus-ok I guess, duck breast-best I've had outside Paris, charred pork belly-delicious! Chocolate cheesecake-very good. All hot dishes were served HOT, which I like. Service was careful and courteous. The house Pinot Grigio and Cabernet Sauvignon were fine and the pour was generous.

It's a good place.

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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (Louisville)·Dined on September 26, 2016

The tapas are American size - delicious and large!
We started with deconstructed shrimp & grits, hot crab dip & pita and bacon wrapped dates stuffed with goat cheese. Each and every one a flavorful mouth explosion!
Adding a salad would have made a perfect meal but no, we ordered the evening special of an encrusted pork chop served with sweet potato purée, purple cauliflower & broccolini. Sensory overload ensued - not to mention the loosening of a belt notch!
Can. Not. Wait. To. Go. Back!
So many more things to try!
Our server made the evening a gastronomic fun evening.!

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Wilmington)·Dined on September 17, 2016

this was another great dining experience at Circa 81. We choose this restaurant for our 12th anniversary dinner. We requested a booth that we really like and we were accommodated. The waitress provided good service along with other waitstaff. The food was very good with a great presentation.

Tags: Vegan, Sunday Lunch, Casual, Local Ingredients, Fit for Foodies
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (Charlotte)·Dined on September 16, 2016

Service was slow and food was served randomly in no particular order. Caprese salad was good and cold. She Crab soup lacked crab and was too creamy. If there were any chopped walnuts in the savory baked Brie, they were hiding.

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food3
ambience2
service2

vip
 (Raleigh)·Dined on September 15, 2016

Food was great. Took a but longer than expected to get the second round of tapas since we ordered them all together but the food more than made up for the wait. Watermelon mojito was very good and the sangria was good as well. We'll be back for sure.

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food5
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (Raleigh)·Dined on September 10, 2016

Four of us had dinner had dinner there on a recent Saturday Night. It was wonderful, the specials, Tapas, the complete menu. Two of us were retired from the Hospitality Industry, one a CIA Trained Chef, and me, Hotelier. Clarke, the owner, shows creativity, style and substance in his craft. We enjoy Circa-81

Tags: Tapas, Great for Brunch, Casual, Worth the Drive
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

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