By Christopher Trela & Catherine Del Casale
Easter is a signal that spring has arrived, and with it the first lavish brunch occasion of the season. Many restaurants in town are offering a variety of Easter brunch specials on Sunday, April 5, from bountiful buffets to prix fixe menus and a la carte offerings. And most have special children’s menus, with pricing to match. We’ve compiled a list for this week’s column, and will continue to update the website list (note that some brunches are sold out).
BACK BAY BISTRO [NOTE: SOLD OUT]
Overlooking the back bay at Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort, Back Bay Bistro has a terrific brunch buffet from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for $75 per person ($38 for children 12 and under) that includes an omelet station, pancake station, smoked fish station, seafood station, carving station, crab cake station, antipasti display, salad bar, grilled items, and a dessert display featuring a chocolate fountain. (949) 729-1144 or NewportDunes.com/bistro.
BALBOA BAY RESORT
Balboa Bay Resort’s Grand Ballroom is hosting an Easter Champagne Buffet Brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. ($82 adults; $40 children ages 4-12) with live chef action stations, carving stations, seafood and raw bar, salads, breads, artisan cheeses and a pastry station of decadent desserts, plus complimentary champagne and mimosas, and live entertainment. The Resort’s Waterline restaurant has an intimate Easter celebration from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. that’s $60 for adults and $30 for. Includes complimentary glass of champagne or mimosa, and live musical entertainment. (888) 976-0467 or BalboaBayResort.com.
Bayside is offering a three course, free-flowing champagne brunch with live entertainment for $45.75 for adults and $19 for children 12 and under. The extensive menu includes first course options of white and green asparagus soup, island ceviche, roasted red beets, and more. The main course has many choices including Italian style baked omelette “Frittata,” grilled prime culotte steak, and blackened pacific swordfish. Then end with either strawberry napoleon or dark chocolate cake. (949) 721-1222 or BaysideRestaurant.com.
The Cannery Restaurant offers a three-course pre-fixe menu for $50 per person that starts with a choice of a bowl of farmers market fruit with candied mint, roasted beet toast with whipped goat cheese, or ahi tuna tartar Nicoise. The entrée selections are eggs Benedict, homemade pasta with roasted tomato sauce and shrimp, or banana croissant bread pudding with Applewood smoked bacon. End with buttermilk panna cotta with caramelized pineapple and chilled pineapple soup. (949) 566-0060 or CanneryNewport.com.
Keeping it all in the family this Easter, CUCINA enoteca, is featuring a prix fixe family-style brunch 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The holiday feast stays true to Italian tradition with several large courses including assorted pastries such as monkey bread, taralli and focaccia, scratch made Greek yogurt, frittatas, poached egg with mushroom ragu + polenta + cripsy leek + cherry tomato + spinach, and more. Guests can enjoy their morning feast with a sparkling Limoncello Champagne Punch, available a la carte or bottomless. The prix fixe menu is available for $32 per person, although guests are welcome to dine from the regular brunch menu as well. For reservations, call (949) 706 -1416 or visit Cucinaenoteca.com.
FIG & OLIVE
Fig & Olive will host a special Easter brunch featuring a three-course prix-fixe menu ($40) of French Riviera-inspired dishes. The new Riviera salmon with grilled asparagus, braised fennel, pea purée, and Coratina olive oil and panna cotta a l’orange with cookie crumble will be offered alongside signature egg dishes such as the traditional French omelet, vegetarian quiche, and the crab cake eggs benedict. Guests can also order from the new bloody Mary cart ($16) with handcrafted tableside drinks. (949) 877-3005, or figandolive.com.
Five Crowns, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, offers an a la carte Easter brunch from 11 a.m. to 4
p.m. that includes their famous prime rib plus other selections such as pork belly hash, lobster benedict, and cured salmon salad. They switch over to Easter dinner from 4 p.m. to close that includes more dishes such as filet mignon and short ribs. We dined here two weeks ago and were thrilled with the new menu items, so we guarantee you won’t be disappointed with any of the Five Crowns selections. For details call (949) 760-0331 or visit lawrysonline.com/five-crowns.
Fleming’s Easter Brunch menu is a three-course affair with an entree highlight of eggs benedict with your choice of filet mignon or smoked salmon, with wilted arugula and béarnaise sauce served on a warm potato cake. Featured cocktails include Mary en fuego, bacon and blue cheese Mary, and Sonoma sparkler. Price is $39.95 per person and $18.95 for kids. (949) 720-9633 or FlemingsSteakhouse.com.
How does a brunch cruise sound for Easter? For $68.95 per person ($41.37 for children ages 4-12), board a Hornblower boat for a two-hour brunch cruise that departs at either 11 a.m. or noon. The lavish champagne buffet includes a bakery station, fruit stand, salad bar, seafood platters, traditional breakfast options, carving station with smoked ham and New York strip, and a variety of freshly baked desserts. Includes live music and photo op with the Easter bunny. (949) 631-2469 or Hornblower.com.
Celebrate Easter at Oak Grill from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a three-course prix fixe menu ($55 per person including champagne; $45 without champagne) that ranges from house smoked salmon starter to a crispy duck confit entrée. Or dine a la carte from the traditional Sunday brunch menu with favorites such as the pancake souffle, chilaquiles, or cinnamon roll French toast. (949) 760-4920 or OakGrillNB.com.
One of the restaurants worth driving to Laguna Beach for is Las Brisas, located on the cliffs overlooking the ocean. Their Mexican Rivera champagne brunch is a four-course affair for $45 per person ($16 for children 12 and under). Begin the meal with a fresh starter of an array of seasonal fruits then follow it with a soup or salad. The extensive entrée selections include crepes de Laguna, a seafood omelet, filet and eggs, and much more. End on a sweet note with the Chef’s daily dessert specialty. Reservations recommend. (949) 497-5434 or lasbrisaslagunabeach.com.
Join The Resort at Pelican Hill for Easter egg hunts, Easter Bunny visits, face painting and balloon shaping on the Rotunda Lawn, and chef-crafted dining at each of the Resort restaurants. In Mar Vista’s grand ballroom from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Executive Chef Jean-Pierre Dubray presents traditional brunch favorites, with California and Tuscan accents. Andrea Ristorante presents traditional Easter cuisine with a prix fixe lunch menu from noon to 4 p.m. and á la carte Easter dinner specials beginning at 5 p.m., in addition to award-winning traditional Northern Italian cuisine and fine wines. (The Ballroom and Andrea prices are $120 per adult, $60 per child ages 5-12 at both locations). At Pelican Grill Chef Luke creates a special selection of Easter á la carte dishes, available from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., as well as Easter dinner specials and a featured lounge menu available 3 – 10 p.m. Coliseum Pool & Grill has brunch buffet, available 7 a.m. – 2 p.m., and special á la carte Easter dinner specials. (Brunch buffet: $60 per adult, $30 per child ages 5-12). (888) 507-6427 or pelicanhill.com.
PROVENANCE [NOTE: SOLD OUT]
Provenance will offer a three-course brunch for $49 that includes such selections as wild salmon gravlax, filet mignon, bacon wrapped pork tenderloin, and more. End the meal with a European dessert buffet. We love Chef Cathy’s cooking and know this will be one fabulous brunch! Reservations required. (949) 718-0477 or visit provenanceoc.com.
Red O has a brunch buffet featuring made to order omelettes, Huevos Rancheros, taco bar, salad bar, paella, ceviche, dessert bar, and other breakfast & lunch favorites. $45 per Adult, $15 per child, 6 years and under free. For an additional $20 per person add endless mimosas, tequila sunrises or bloody Marys. (949)718-0300 or redorestaurant.com.
Roy’s Restaurant is offering a family-friendly two-course brunch menu that includes complimentary housemade Brioche sticky bun, choice of appetizer, and entrée offerings such as Roy’s Benedict made with either filet mignon or crab cakes served atop a cheddar bacon biscuit with shiso béarnaise. $39.95 per person. Diners will receive a $20 dining card for use during an upcoming visit to Roy’s. (949) 640-7697 or RoysRestaurant.com.
We’ve become fans of Valenza Chocolatier, hand-crafter by Certified Master Chocolatier Amy Jo (Valenza) Pedone. She sells her decadent delights through her website, but she has two pop-up shops where you can purchase her Easter Collection that features different size chocolate eggs. She also has seasonally gift-wrapped boxes of her award-winning caramellos and vegan-friendly stuffed figs. The collection is built around Amy Jo’s childhood memories, Italian traditions and finished with beautiful pastel color design. You can purchase them on Wednesday, April 1 at The Hood Kitchen Space (350 Clinton St. in Costa Mesa) from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Friday, April 3 at Where’s The Party (270 East 17th St # 12A, Costa Mesa) from 12 to 3 p.m. And if you frequent Kean Coffee in Newport Beach, be sure to try her dark chocolate Kean Bonbon, sold exclusively at Kean. (949) 891-1206 or valenzachocolatier.com.