Nearby points of interest
Nearby points of interest
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.
Morehead City, NC 28557
Tapas / Small Plates, Seafood
Hours of Operation:
Monday: 11:30am - 9:00pm
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
Across from EJW Outdoors
$30 and under
AMEX, MasterCard, Visa
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!
Big private lot. Will accommodate large vehicles
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.
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
Terrific service, and best food I've had in the area this year. Overall - best experience we've had in Morehead / Beaufort area for Summer 2017. Our waitress was attentive, but not overly so. Was very quick to let us know what they were about to run out of, so we could reserve it (mac n cheese w truffles & fried soft crabs). We shared several (maybe 6?) tapas between 2 couples, and it was just right. I was impressed! And unlike too many places, it was not too loud. Easy to enjoy dinner conversation over very well-prepared food. Thank you Circa 81!
I have been going to Circ 81 for about three years now. Of course, I only go about twice a year when vacationing with my family in Atlantic Beach. We found out about it through a lady at the Beaufort Olive Oil and Vinegar Company (also highly recommended!) and found that, while pricey, the food is delicious! I cannot speak to the full meals but their tapas are wonderful! I recommend going in a modestly sized group and getting two tapas each and sharing among each other. The best, in my opinion, are the pot stickers, the sweet potato quesadilla, and the Medjool dates. Quiet and great service! The only downside is you will need a reservation. I would say make reservations a day ahead so you can get exactly the time you want.
Circa 81 is consistently exceptional in regards to their food and service. The specials and regular menu items are creative and prepared with fresh ingredients...when you order. The drink options are varied and carefully prepared. Our go-to restaurant for any occasion or no occasion at all. Highly recommended!
Moms' night out!! We chose Thursday night to take advantage of the $5.00 martinis. We ordered several items .. crab dip, pimento cheese, Brie pastry, shrimp & grits, pork tenderloin & rosemary beef. All were very good. There were 4 of us and it was plenty of food to share. A normal man would need 3 plates (tapas) himself to feel full. The ginger lemon martini was our favorite and a flavor combo we never thought to order before. It's not too sweet and very refreshing. We all agreed the pomegranate martini was too sweet. The other martinis were worth trying if you like fruity martinis. Yes, we tried all 6 or 7 on the martini list. Great night out with friends. Great drinks & good! To top it off we had a DD to drive us home.
Dined at Circa 81 on a Sunday evening. Always one of our favorite places and it didn't disappoint this time. Joe was our server and he did a great job! The three of us each ordered 2 small plates to share: scallops special, crab dip, shrimp & grits, brussel sprouts, pot stickers, and pork belly. All were delicious and over the top! Pork belly melts in your mouth and comes served over grits. Scallops were the evening special and were awesome. Finished the meal off with chocolate cheesecake and coffee. Couldn't ask for better food or better service!
I don't live close by, so a restaurant has to be good to visit and revisit, especially when Morehead City has many good restaurants from which to choose. Over the years, I have gone to Circa 81 for special occasions, as well as just to enjoy the food, especially the tapas. Receiving coupons also helps to keep them in mind when looking for great dining.
Circa 81 is one of our favorite restaurants. Last Sunday we both tried the special Benedict---a salmon Benedict that was absolutely delicious. I often have the Cuban Benedict, and the special Circa 81 French Toast is also one of my favorite dishes. I highly recommend this restaurant!
WE had a wonderful server. He made some good wine suggestions to pair with our meal. Service was quick but not rushed. My wife had the beef rosemary small plate and thoroughly enjoyed. I had the mixed grill which was good but did not have a WOW flavor. It didn't seem to have much seasoning and the tuna needed some wasabi. We will definitely go back and try other items on the menu. Since it was on a Monday it wasn't busy which was to my liking.
In our party of four all selections were very good to excellent. The sesame tuna was remarkable. The server was friendly and helpful
The only suggestion is that it was difficult to understand the difference between the tapas and regular plates making ordering a little confusing. (This is a very minor issue).
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!!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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