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Circa 81 Tapas and Cocktaileria

Certificate of Excellence
$$
Spanish, Tapas
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4650 Arendell St, Ste C, Morehead City, NC 28557-2782 (Across from EJW Outdoors)
Taxi Cabs (sorry MHC does not offer public transportation) We are located 2.5 miles west of the Atlantic Beach bridge.
+1 252-648-8300
Website
Today
11:30 am - 9:00 pm
Closed now
See all hours
Hours:
Sun 10:30 am - 9:00 pm
Mon 11:30 am - 9:00 pm
Wed - Thu 11:30 am - 9:00 pm
Fri - Sat 11:30 am - 9:30 pm
Dining options: Lunch, Breakfast, Dinner, Dessert, Accepts American Express, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Free Off-Street Parking, Free Wifi, Full Bar, Highchairs Available, Outdoor Seating, Parking Available, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Takeout, Television, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible, Wine and Beer
Description: Focusing on providing guests with a great dining experience is what we do...
Focusing on providing guests with a great dining experience is what we do. Using some of the best ingredients from local providers, Circa 81 takes pride in offering a farm / sea to table menu as much as possible, supporting local fishermen and farmers. Circa 81 is also a member of the Carteret Catch program. Circa 81 has participated in the NC Seafood Festival Chef's Tent and People's Choice Crabcake competition, the Beaufort Wine & Food Festival, and the Fire on the Dock culinary competition (where team Circa 81 was a finalist in 2013). Circa 81 was also finalist for the 2011 Best Dish NC contest. We have also been included in Cooking Light magazine (September 2011) and the 2012 NC Visitor's Guide. All of these great opportunities and inclusions are the result of a never-ceasing focus on outstanding food quality and service, plus lots of hard work.
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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 164 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 98
    Excellent
  • 50
    Very good
  • 8
    Average
  • 6
    Poor
  • 2
    Terrible
Rating summary
  • Food
    4.5 of 5 stars
    Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
    Atmosphere
    4 of 5 stars
A pleasant surprise

"Adult" restaurants in beach settings are rare. This place really got our attention, enough so that we went twice. They specialize in small plates but I wouldn't use the word "Tapas" which implies Spanish. the idea of small plates is terrific and for the most part Circa 81 gets it right. The... read more

4 of 5 starsReviewed July 27, 2015
Norman S
,
Irvington, Virginia
Good for:
  • Local cuisine
  • Bar scene
  • Doing business
  • Special occasions
  • Romantic
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164 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Irvington, Virginia
Level Contributor
79 reviews
55 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 27, 2015 NEW

"Adult" restaurants in beach settings are rare. This place really got our attention, enough so that we went twice. They specialize in small plates but I wouldn't use the word "Tapas" which implies Spanish. the idea of small plates is terrific and for the most part Circa 81 gets it right. The dishes were tasty and very creative. The specials... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
Level Contributor
1 review
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 15, 2015

I'm all about fine dining in a nice setting. However, when the attitude of the hostess is condescending, and the room is small with little personality, then I get turned off. My friend and I left and visited a better restaurant.

Was this review helpful? Yes
MNCMom, Owner at Circa 81 Tapas and Cocktaileria, responded to this review

Hello! Thank you for taking time to provide feedback. We are so sorry if you were not greeted warmly and welcomed into our restaurant. Without any specific details on your visit or your concerns it is hard for us to improve and address your concerns. We take great pride in providing outstanding service and food. And, as you can see... More 

New Bern, North Carolina
Level Contributor
167 reviews
117 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 83 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 15, 2015

I cannot believe we have not been here before! Had heard of Circa 81, but never really pursued dining here until friends suggested something new (to us) and casual. What a treat! The small plates were all incredible!! We enjoy trying different dishes. That's sometimes hard to find in eastern NC. Chef Clarke Merrell has managed to offer some American... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
Level Contributor
15 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 14, 2015

Owned and operated by the same folks who run Dank Burrito food truck and Beaufort Olive Oil. Specials change frequently. A delicious fusion of ingredients make these small dish tapas fun and filling. Different daily drink specials, comfortable dining area and relaxing bar. We went on $5 cocktail night, I ordered 2 different tapas and so did my wife, shared... More 

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Greenville, North Carolina
Level Contributor
10 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 6, 2015

Should have written this review a long time ago. My wife and I make a point to eat here every time we visit the area. In fact, we celebrated our engagement at Circa 81. The restaurant is small and intimate. The wait staff are informed and attentive. The bar staff are creative and always aim to please. I will be... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
Level Contributor
93 reviews
74 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 4, 2015

In a world of oversized portions and low quality meals, this place corrects both. Order 2-3 of the small plates and leave full and satisfied!

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Beaufort, NC
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 30, 2015

Love this place! have tried 2 or 3 different small plates each time and all have been excellent! Great wine list.

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Cary, North Carolina
Level Contributor
10 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 27, 2015

For first time visitor to Morehead City, NC, this restaurant was not as visible as some, but it was a great surprise in greeting, service, food and value. We had two Tapas as appetizers (Stuffed Brie and Pork Pot Stickers) and then split a FANTASTIC mixed grill plate consisting of shrimp, pan seared duck and beef tenderloin. Bar service was... More 

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Havelock NC
Level Contributor
115 reviews
92 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 22, 2015

Came back from Myrtle Beach and got home and decided we wanted a nice quiet relaxing dinner so we headed to Circa 81. As always it was a great dining experience. We had the Benton Ham appetizer which was good. For dinner we ordered Tapas plates. We had the Gnocchi, Potatoes Brava and the Pork Ossobucco. We enjoyed all of... More 

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Beaufort, North Carolina
2 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 22, 2015

This is a review NOT in the restaurant, but watching them do a catering for a big party. Clarke Merrill and his whole staff did an awesome job. The food was great everywhere, and the addition of the Dank Burrito truck added to the whole event. Now we know their service is not just in the restaurant, but incredible outside... More 

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Additional Information about Circa 81 Tapas and Cocktaileria

Address: 4650 Arendell St, Ste C, Morehead City, NC 28557-2782
Phone Number: +1 252-648-8300
Location: United States  >  North Carolina (NC)  >  North Carolina Coast  >  Morehead City
Open Hours:
Sunday 10:30 am - 9:00 pm
Monday 11:30 am - 9:00 pm
Wednesday 11:30 am - 9:00 pm
Thursday 11:30 am - 9:00 pm
Friday 11:30 am - 9:30 pm
Saturday 11:30 am - 9:30 pm
Average Prices: USD 2 - 28
Cuisine: Spanish, Tapas

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Restaurant Details

Location and Contact Information

  • Address: 4650 Arendell St, Ste C, Morehead City, NC 28557-2782
    (Across from EJW Outdoors)
  • Public Transportation: Taxi Cabs (sorry MHC does not offer public transportation) We are located 2.5 miles west of the Atlantic Beach bridge.
  • Location: United States  >  North Carolina (NC)  >  North Carolina Coast  >  Morehead City
  • Phone Number: +1 252-648-8300

Price and Cuisine

  • Average Prices: USD 2 - 28
  • Cuisine: Spanish, Tapas

Restaurant Characteristics

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Good for: Local cuisine, Bar scene, Doing business, Special occasions, Romantic

Description

Focusing on providing guests with a great dining experience is what we do. Using some of the best ingredients from local providers, Circa 81 takes pride in offering a farm / sea to table menu as much as possible, supporting local fishermen and farmers. Circa 81 is also a member of the Carteret Catch program. Circa 81 has participated in the NC Seafood Festival Chef's Tent and People's Choice Crabcake competition, the Beaufort Wine & Food Festival, and the Fire on the Dock culinary competition (where team Circa 81 was a finalist in 2013). Circa 81 was also finalist for the 2011 Best Dish NC contest. We have also been included in Cooking Light magazine (September 2011) and the 2012 NC Visitor's Guide. All of these great opportunities and inclusions are the result of a never-ceasing focus on outstanding food quality and service, plus lots of hard work.
Open Hours
Sunday
10:30 am - 9:00 pm
Monday
11:30 am - 9:00 pm
Wednesday
11:30 am - 9:00 pm
Thursday
11:30 am - 9:00 pm
Friday
11:30 am - 9:30 pm
Saturday
11:30 am - 9:30 pm

Questions & Answers

Questions? Get answers from Circa 81 Tapas and Cocktaileria staff and past visitors.
Posting guidelines
Typical questions asked:
  • Do you have gluten-free options?
  • Is there a dress code?
  • Do you allow dogs on the outdoor patio?