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Whether you celebrate Easter morning with a trip to church, or just enjoy the annual return of Cadbury’s Mini Eggs to the candy aisle, the holiday is upon us (April 17, to be exact). And with that comes the springtime holiday’s greatest tradition, brunch — or dinner, if you want to make the day a more formal affair. Either way, Easter offers you the opportunity to don your finest threads (pastels and light grays, preferably), gather with loved ones, and see what kinds of food spring has to offer.
Whether it be a swank hotel with all the trimmings or a beloved dim sum spot, Nosh has provided you a selection of dining options to celebrate the season. We’ve even included a couple of places with perfect to-go Easter fare for those of you who want to resurrect entertaining at home as we slowly make our way back to group settings.
Please note: This list doesn’t cover every single East Bay market, deli and restaurant that offers holiday fare. Consider this a vetted guide to our favorites, or a jumping off point for your Easter shopping.
Boichik Bagels‘ Emily Winston tells Nosh that she’s already seeing big pre-orders of her vaunted bagels, “with cream cheese and lox for Easter morning.” Now open seven days a week, last-minute Easter breakfast bringers can even stop by on their way, as Boichik’s doors open at 7:30 a.m. Boichik Bagels, 3170 College Ave. (near Alcatraz Avenue), Berkeley
The Butcher’s Son’s vegan/vegetarian fare, made with in-house prepared faux meats and cheeses, is available for pick up. Special Easter menu includes a soy frittata, impossible meat loaf and a “bacon” mac salad. The Butcher’s Son, 1954 University Ave. (at Martin Luther King Jr. Way), Berkeley
Claremont Club and Spa is about as posh as you can get this Easter. The luxe 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 (replete with candied pancetta and toasted almond syrup), pacific rockfish (topped with hot sauce and pickled onion) or the Berkeley smash burger (mmm, those crispy patty edges) at Limewood Restaurant’s brunch. Cookie decoration will take place on the hotel’s front lawn before brunch (at 10 a.m.) and there will be a special guest appearance by noted Easter-adjacent avatar, Peter Rabbit. Hop to it. Claremont Club and Spa, 41 Tunnel Rd. (at Domingo Avenue), Berkeley
Donato and Co. serves an Italian three-course brunch of torta pasqualina (spinach and ricotta pie with crescenza cheese sauce), tagliolini con carciofi with guanciale and cured egg yolk, slow-roasted lamb shoulder and a classic Neapolitan Easter dessert made of ricotta and candied orange peel. Donato and Co., 2635 Ashby (at College), Berkeley
East Bay Provisions offers two mega meals for those who want to celebrate at home minus the cooking. Their Easter honey and maple glazed ham to-go brunches (serving either two or four to six hungry revelers), comes with County Line mixed greens with marinated artichokes, cherry tomatoes, toasted pistachios and watermelon radish in a Meyer lemon vinaigrette; scalloped potatoes layered with gruyere, roasted root vegetables accompanied by a shallot confit and spring berry crumble with chantilly cream. Grab a bottle or eight of red or white wines while you’re at it. Pick up from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on April 16 and 10 a.m. to noon on April 17 at the Claremont Club and Spa carriage’s entrance, 41 Tunnel Rd. (at Domingo Avenue), Berkeley
Market Hall Foods asks you to push aside inferior Easter treats, like flavorless Russell Stover milk chocolate bunnies or the avian nightmare known as Peeps, for something truly spectacular: a Pavlova kit. Named after famed ballerina Anna Pavlova, due to its tutu-like look and lightness, the speciality food store’s kit comes with a premade pavlova shell, lemon curd, passion fruit puree, whipped chantilly cream and assorted berries to crown your marshmallowy confection. Don’t forget to pick up some of their savory items — like braised chicken with spring vegetables, sweet apple ham, mustard-tinged deviled eggs dusted 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
Revival Bar + Kitchen Owner Amy Murray says that Revival is planning a special Easter dinner menu that includes Colorado lamb chops with mint chutney and new potatoes, and a duck breast entree with whipped garnet yams. Revival Bar + Kitchen, 2102 Shattuck Ave. (near Addison Street), Berkeley
Sesame Tiny Bakery, a South Berkeley bakery as big as its name suggests, offers desserts and pastries from the mind of former Camino pastry chef Marykate McGoldrick, who uses seasonal ingredients that strike her fancy each week. What’s on the menu? You’ll have to stop by to find out as the constantly rotating menu is revealed each Friday. Past glories include almond chiffon cake with oolong milk tea pastry cream, mandarin meringue cake and black sesame eclairs. Sesame Tiny Bakery, 2969 Shattuck Ave. (at Ashby Avenue), Berkeley
Sweet Adeline Bakeshop whips up coconut lemon chiffon cakes, berry lattice pies and a (gluten-free) rose pistachio cake tinged with cardamom for Easter. But the main act are their lightly sweet hot cross buns — a staple of the holiday and traditionally enjoyed to mark the end of Lent — which feature whiskey-soaked apricots and currants packed in a brioche bun anointed with royal icing in the titular shape. Heavenly. Sweet Adeline Bakeshop, 3350 Adeline St. (at 63rd Street), Berkeley
Aunt Mary’s Cafe’s Southern and Southwestern menu features bubble and squeak served with biscuits and collard greens, pozole verde with fried maza cheddar cake, pain perdue (Cajun-style french toast) and lemon ricotta pancakes with mixed berry compote and white honey cream cheese. And to usher in the warm weather on the horizon, indulge in their lemon icebox cream pie. Aunt Mary’s Cafe, 4640 Telegraph (at 45th Street), Oakland
Duende, a Spanish-inspired joint, will be offering their full a la carte menu, as well as a few specials for the celebration including a Potaje de Semana Santa “Soup” of albóndigas de pescados fritos (balls of fried fish) with garbanzo beans, gigante beans, spinach and allioli, as well as a special Easter paella with spring lamb sausage with mint, asparagus, baby carrots, english peas, bitter greens salad and english peas. Duende, 468 19th St. (at Broadway), Oakland
The Fat Lady Bar and Restaurant brings to the table a bevy of Mediterranean-inspired brunch classics this season, including a roasted asparagus omelet, Grand Marnier-spiked french toast and Greco lamb chops. Don’t forget an order of French fried zucchini with roquefort blue cheese. The Fat Lady Bar and Restaurant, 201 Washington St. (at Second Street), Oakland
Grand Lake Kitchen’s brunch fare, including salmon Benedict, brisket and polenta and savory french toast (rye bread dipped in porcini batter and served with wild mushrooms), will make for an ideal Easter Sunday brunch. Don’t forget to splurge on a cocktail or two. Grand Lake Kitchen has two locations: 574 Grand Ave. (at Euclid), Oakland; and 2042 MacArthur Blvd. (at Dimond Avenue), Oakland
Hopscotch features a quiet Easter brunch minus the pastel-hued frippery or pinkies-up entrees. Homemade donuts with butterscotch cream, kakiage (red onion, burdock root, and shimeji mushroom tempura fritters), braised pork belly Benedict or a tonkatsu sandwich of breaded pork loin make for a refreshing take on traditional Easter fare. Hopscotch, 1915 San Pablo Ave. (at 19th Street), Oakland
Lake Chalet’s waterfront setting, inside the historic Oakland Boathouse on Lake Merritt, provides a perfectly serene aquatic setting to enjoy the restaurant’s special Easter menu, including an asparagus, leek and goat cheese frittata, braised lamb shank with parmesan polenta, halibut paired with an English pea puree and tres leches cake. Lake Chalet, 1520 Lakeside Dr. (at 17th Street ), Oakland
Peony Seafood Restaurant’s adorable piggy custard buns and coconut rabbits will have the wee ones ditching that chocolate bunny in favor of these anthropomorphized desserts. One of the few remaining banquet halls left in the city’s Chinatown, don’t skip the pork ribs with black bean sauce with preserved olives, daikon cakes, bean curd rolls or chicken sausage buns. Peony Seafood Restaurant, 388 Ninth Street, suite 288 (at Webster), Oakland