Whether you’re celebrating Easter morning with a visit to church or just enjoying the annual return of Cadbury’s mini eggs to the candy aisle, the holidays are upon us (April 17, to be exact). . And with that comes Spring Break’s greatest tradition, brunch — or dinner, if you want to make the day a more formal affair. Either way, Easter gives you the chance to put on your finest yarns (pastels and light grays, preferably), get together with your loved ones, and see what kinds of food spring has to offer.
Whether it’s a swanky hotel with all the trimmings or a beloved dim sum spot, Nosh offers a selection of dining options to celebrate the season. We’ve even included a few places with perfect Easter takeaways for those of you who want to resurrect entertainment at home as we slowly return to group settings.
Note: This list does not cover all East Bay markets, delis, and restaurants that offer holiday fare. Consider this an approved guide to our favorites or a starting point for your Easter shopping.
Bagels Boichik‘ Emily Winston tells Nosh she’s already seeing big pre-orders of her much-vaunted bagels, ‘with cream cheese and smoked salmon for Easter morning.’ Now open seven days a week, last-minute Easter breakfast porters can even stop along the way, as Boichik’s gates open at 7:30 a.m. Bagels Boichik3170 College Ave. (near Alcatraz Avenue), Berkeley
The butcher’s son‘s vegan/vegetarian dishes, made with fake meats and cheeses prepared on site, are available to take away. The special Easter menu includes a soy frittata, an impossible meatloaf and a “bacon” mac salad. The butcher’s son1954 University Ave. (at Martin Luther King Jr. Way), Berkeley
Claremont Club and Spa is about as chic as it gets on Easter. The luxury hotel’s ‘Easter in the Hills’, a tradition for decades, offers discerning travelers and locals the chance to celebrate the season with sweet potato duck hash (filled with candied pancetta and syrup toasted almond), Pacific rockfish (topped with hot sauce and pickled onion) or the Berkeley smash burger (mmm, those crispy patty edges) with Linden Restaurantit’s brunch. Cookie decorating will take place on the hotel lawn before brunch (at 10 a.m.) and there will be a special guest appearance by famous Easter-adjacent avatar Peter Rabbit. Hop to her. Claremont Club and Spa, 41 Tunnel Road. (on Domingo Avenue), Berkeley
Donato and Co.. serves a three-course Italian brunch of torta pasqualina (spinach and ricotta pie with crescenza cheese sauce), tagliolini con carciofi with guanciale and dried egg yolk, slow-roasted shoulder of lamb and a classic Neapolitan Easter dessert made with ricotta and candied orange peel. Donato and Co.., 2635 Ashby (at the College), Berkeley
East Bay Provisions offers two mega meals for those who want to celebrate at home without cooking. Their take-out Easter Honey and Maple-Glazed Ham Brunches (serving two or four to six hungry revelers), come with County Line Mixed Greens with marinated artichokes, cherry tomatoes, roasted pistachios and radish watermelon in a Meyer lemon vinaigrette; Potato gratin au gratin with Gruyère cheese, roasted root vegetables served with shallot confit and crumble of spring berries with whipped cream. Grab a bottle or eight of red or white wines while you’re at it. Pick-up 2-4 p.m. April 16 and 10 a.m.-noon April 17 from the Carriage Entrance of the Claremont Club and Spa, 41 Tunnel Rd. (on Domingo Avenue), Berkeley
Market Hall Foods asks you to ditch the inferior Easter treats, like Russell Stover’s unflavored milk chocolate bunnies or the avian nightmare known as Peeps, for something truly spectacular: a Pavlova kit. Named after the famous ballerina Anna Pavlova, due to its tutu look and lightness, the specialty food store’s kit comes with a pre-made pavlova shell, lemon curd, fruit puree from the passion fruit, whipped cream and assorted berries to top off your marshmallow confection. Don’t forget to pick up some of their savory dishes – like braised chicken with spring vegetables, ham with sweet apples, mustard deviled eggs sprinkled with paprika – to complete your Easter meal. Market Hall Foods has locations in Berkeley and Oakland: Rockridge Market Hall, 5655 College Ave. (at Keith Avenue), Oakland; Market Hall on Fourth Street, 1786 Fourth St. (between Hearst Avenue and Virginia Street), Berkeley
Small sesame bakery, a South Berkeley bakery as big as its name suggests, features desserts and baked goods from the mind of former Camino pastry chef Marykate McGoldrick, who uses seasonal ingredients that appeal to her every week. What is on the menu? You’ll have to stop by to find out as the ever-rotating menu is revealed every Friday. Past glories include Almond Sponge Cake with Oolong Milk Tea Custard, Tangerine Meringue Cake and Black Sesame Eclairs. Small sesame bakery2969 Shattuck Avenue (at Ashby Avenue), Berkeley
Sweet Adeline Bakery concocts coconut-lemon chiffon cakes, berry lattice tarts and a pistachio pink cake (gluten-free) tinged with cardamom for Easter. But the main act are their lightly sweetened hot buns – a holiday staple and traditionally enjoyed to mark the end of Lent – which feature whiskey-soaked apricots and currants wrapped in a brioche bun anointed with ice cream. royal in the titular form. Celestial. Sweet Adeline Bakery3350 Adeline St. (at 63rd Street), Berkeley
Aunt Mary’s CoffeeThe southern and southwestern menu includes bubbles and squeaks served with cookies and collard greens, pozole verde with fried cheddar maza cake, pain perdu (Cajun-style French toast) and crepes a la ricotta and lemon with mixed berry compote and white honey cream cheese. And to usher in the warm weather on the horizon, indulge in their lemon ice cream pie. Aunt Mary’s Coffee4640 Telegraph (at 45th Street), Oakland
Duendea Spanish-inspired restaurant, will offer its full a la carte menu, as well as some specials for the celebration, including a “soup” Potaje de Semana Santa d’albóndigas de pescados fritos (fried fish balls) with chickpeas, beans gigante, spinach and allioli, as well as a special Easter paella with spring lamb sausage with mint, asparagus, baby carrots, English peas, salad of bitter greens and peas. Duende468 19th St. (at Broadway), Oakland
The Fat Lady bar and restaurant brings to the table a slew of Mediterranean-inspired brunch classics this season, including a roasted asparagus omelette, Grand Marnier French toast and Greco lamb chops. Don’t forget an order of fried zucchini with blue cheese. The Fat Lady bar and restaurant201 Washington St. (at Second Street), Oakland
Great Lake CuisineBrunch dishes, including Benedictine salmon, brisket and polenta and savory French toast (rye bread dipped in porcini batter and served with wild mushrooms), will make an ideal Easter Sunday brunch . Don’t forget to splurge on a cocktail or two. Great Lake Cuisine has two locations: 574 Grand Ave. (at Euclid), Oakland; and 2042 MacArthur Blvd. (at Dimond Avenue), Oakland
Hopscotch offers a leisurely Easter brunch minus the pastel-hued or pinkies-up thrift store entrees. Homemade fritters with butterscotch cream, kakiage (tempura fritters of red onion, burdock root and shimeji mushrooms), Benedict braised pork belly or breaded pork loin tonkatsu sandwich make a refreshing version of traditional Easter cuisine. Hopscotch1915 San Pablo Avenue (19th Street), Oakland
lake cottageThe waterfront setting, inside the historic Oakland Boathouse on Lake Merritt, provides a perfectly serene watery setting to enjoy the restaurant’s special Easter menu, including an asparagus, leek and pork frittata. goat cheese, a braised lamb shank with parmesan polenta, halibut accompanied by an English pea puree and tres leches cake. lake cottage1520 Lakeside Dr. (at 17th Street), Oakland
Peony seafood restaurantAdorable piggy cream buns and coconut bunnies will have little ones ditching that chocolate bunny in favor of these anthropomorphized desserts. One of the few remaining banquet halls in the city’s Chinatown, don’t miss the pork chops in black bean sauce with candied olives, the daikon cakes, bean curd rolls or the buns with the chicken sausage. Peony seafood restaurant388 Ninth Street, suite 288 (at Webster), Oakland