As the 15-day weather forecast calls for an alleged end to our torrential rainfall by then (say a little prayer, won’t you?) Easter Sunday, which this year is on April 9, could end up being an ideal day to enjoy springtime weather, basking in the glory of the sun while partaking in some choice holiday fare with family and friends.
Whether it be a swank hotel setting or just your favorite brunch joint, 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 spend the holiday at home.
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 starting point for your Easter Sunday culinary adventure.
Boichik Bagels, purveyors of arguably the best bagels in the county, make a great pitstop for any Easter potluck or picnic on your calendar. All of the usual leavened suspects are available; you can’t go wrong. But I urge you to add additional onion bagels and bialys to your roster as there are never enough. (Onion and bialy are unimpeachably the best flavors, according to me.)
Please note: Online pre-ordering is for bagged bagels only (you get to skip the line!) and can be picked up at the window from 7 a.m. – 1 p.m. No orders over the phone, please. No same-day ordering online; order in advance by 10am the day before for pickups or deliveries. Boichik Bagels, 3170 College Ave. (near Alcatraz Avenue), Berkeley
Claremont Club and Spa is the most elegant offering on our list this year. The luxe hotel’s “Easter in the Hills,” a tradition for decades, offers travelers and locals a three-course pre-fixe brunch menu at Limewood Restaurant (adults $85, kids under 12 $55). Before brunch, Peter Rabbit will make a special guest appearance on the lawn, where cookie decoration for the wee ones will take place. Claremont Club and Spa, 41 Tunnel Rd. (at Domingo Avenue), Berkeley
Market Hall Foods will have you turning your back on traditional Easter treats, like the edible plastic known as Russell Stover milk chocolate bunnies or the sugar-coated agonies known as Peeps, for something legit: a Pavlova. Named after famed ballerina Anna Pavlova, due to its tutu-like look and lightness, the specialty food store sells two sizes of the dessert, which features lemon curd, passion fruit puree, whipped chantilly cream and assorted berries to top what is arguably the best dessert since a bakewell tart.
Market Hall Foods also offers some choice savory items — like sweet apple ham, roasted potatoes with fennel and olives, and our second favorite dessert, hot cross buns — to complete your Easter bacchanalia. 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
Masse’s Pastries is the go-to place for stocking up on hot cross buns. The brioche staple of Easter is available for pre-ordering by the 1/2 dozen for Saturday and Sunday only during the holiday weekend. All orders must be placed by 3 p.m. the Wednesday before Easter for weekend pickup. While you’re at it, consider their spring sponge roulade with filled strawberry mousse and topped with rhubarb compote, and vanilla mascarpone mousse. Masse’s Pastries, 1469 Shattuck Ave. (at Vine), Berkeley
Revival Bar + Kitchen’s owner Amy Murray tells Nosh they will offer both their main menu and a spring pre-fixe menu for Easter. Said springtime menu will include English pea, ricotta, and mint ravioli; lamb with green garlic and fava beans; steelhead trout with carrot-orange jus, scallops with Meyer lemon coulis and ricotta gnocchi with asparagus and nettles pesto. Featured desserts include Basque cheesecake with rhubarb and blood orange olive oil cake. “Please note,” she warned, “atmospheric river weather conditions may impact availability of produce and seafood.” Revival Bar + Kitchen, 2102 Shattuck Ave. (near Addison Street), Berkeley
Skates on the Bay will serve a special Easter menu of lemon ricotta pancakes, eggs Benedict with homemade house-made Mornay and hollandaise sauces, crab cake Benedict with blue lump crab, vegetable frittata and baked cinnamon brioche french toast. But the star attraction here is the waterfront setting with sweeping views of the bay. Skates of the Bay, 100 Seawall Dr. (at University Avenue), Berkeley
Sweet Adeline Bakeshop’s Easter lineup includes a hibiscus lime tart ($33), a chocolate pound cake decorated in Easter hues, egg-shaped cookies, and of course, hot cross buns, a staple of the holiday and traditionally enjoyed to mark the end of Lent. For a gluten-free option, I recommend the rose pistachio torte made with almond and corn flour. Sweet Adeline Bakeshop, 3350 Adeline St. (at 63rd Street), Berkeley
Lake Chalet’s waterfront setting, inside the historic Oakland Boathouse on Lake Merritt, offers a scenic aquatic setting (weather permitted, fingers crossed) to enjoy the restaurant’s annual Easter menu, including an asparagus au gratin, crab-studded deviled eggs, twice-baked potatoes with bacon and parmesan cheese, roast lamb leg and herb crusted sirloin roast. Lake Chalet,1520 Lakeside Dr. (at 17th Street ), Oakland
Hopscotch, the acclaimed American/Japanese fusion restaurant, won’t have a dedicated Easter dish like they did last year, but the pork belly and kimchi fried rice with a hard boiled egg with a custard-like yolk is reason enough to hit this place up in honor of the holiday. Consider it a riff on the holiday’s traditional ham and eggs. Hopscotch, 1915 San Pablo Ave. (at 19th Street), Oakland
Grand Lake Kitchen’s regular menu brunch also doubles nicely for classic Easter fare. Celebrate the day indulging in salmon Benedict, brisket and polenta or savory French toast (rye bread dipped in porcini batter and served with wild mushrooms). Don’t forget to enjoy a cocktail or four at their full-service bar. Grand Lake Kitchen has two locations: 574 Grand Ave. (at Euclid), Oakland; and 2042 MacArthur Blvd. (at Dimond Avenue), Oakland
Peony Seafood Restaurant’s anthropomorphized desserts – i.e., the piggy custard buns and coconut rabbits — are Easter confections that put the Cadbury bunny to shame. One of the few remaining banquet halls left in the city’s Chinatown, Peony’s pork ribs with black bean sauce with preserved olives, daikon cakes, bean curd rolls or chicken sausage buns aren’t to be missed. Peony Seafood Restaurant, 388 Ninth Street, suite 288 (at Webster), Oakland