Brunch used to mean a simple buffet with lots of stations to choose from. As you’ll see below, it’s that and much, much more. Egg hunts, church service and seasonal specials dominate this new wave of weekend dining. Pick the one that speaks to your cravings, and be sure to make that reservation.
The Crack Shack – Costa Mesa
A low-key, but seriously tasty alternative to more fancy brunches, it’s about time you head to Crack Shack for all things chicken and eggs. We are digging the BAE, with its bacon, avocado, sunny egg, cheese and English Muffin bun. It’s all our favorite tastes in one bite! Most folks get their hands on the Deviled Eggs, upgraded with candied bacon and french toast crumble. You do you, but be sure to remember the fries. 196 E. 17th St., (949) 383-5040; www.crackshack.com.
Ritz-Carlton – Laguna Niguel
Easter baskets for purchase and massive artistry Easter eggs on display all month are offered in addition to the classic Sunday buffet on the 21st. Even if you do not visit on Easter day, both enoSTEAK and RAYA will be rolling out spring menu items such as Lamb Belly, Aji Amarillo Ceviche and a Poke bowl. One Ritz Carlton Dr., (949) 240-2000; www.ritzcarlton.com
Mastro’s Ocean Club – Newport
We don’t normally associate Mastro’s with brunch buffets, so this is definitely worth mentioning. Order a Peach Bellini or house Mojito early on, so you can focus on the various food stations. Sushi displays, a carving table, plus an omelette station await. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., but they will also be open for dinner starting at 4 p.m.. 8112 E. Coast Hwy., (949) 376-6990; www.mastrosrestaurants.com.
Hyatt Regency – Huntington Beach
Live music and a visit from the Easter Bunny are a few of the activities meant to entice your appetite. We’re looking forward to snow crab claws, halibut ceviche and just shucked oysters. Meals include unlimited coffee, tea, juice and champagne. Service is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.. 21500 Pacific Coast Hwy., (714) 845-4627; www.hyatt.com.
TRADE Food Hall – Irvine
Check out the Mega Mimosas from Center Hub to keep cool that weekend. Hiro Nori Craft Ramen will carry mini Pork Bun Sliders. KRISP Living will pour specialty Lattes. Do order that fried chicken breakfast burrito if you stop by Two Birds. Guaranteed to locate something for everyone, especially now that Broken Rice is open. 2222 Michelson Dr., (949) 449-1288; www.tradefoodhall.com.
Newport Dunes & Back Bay Bistro – Newport Beach
Begin your day with a sunrise Easter service, led by Mariners Church Pastor Tim Lukei, at 7 a.m. The morning before, at 9 a.m., view the annual egg hunt for over 6,000 eggs containing a range of candies and monies; it’s a sight to behold. Easter brunch includes a chocolate fountain, honey glazed ham and pancakes made to order. A trio of seatings starts at 10 a.m.. 1131 Back Bay Dr., (949) 335-6135; www.newportdunes.com.
The RANCH Restaurant – Anaheim
Open for dinner service between 4-9 p.m., look out for seasonal specials created by the brothers Rossi. These include Wild Ramp Gnudi, with Oregon morels, English Peas, and Zuckermans Farm asparagus. Pictured is their Baja Striped Bass, using baby Dutch potatoes, Castelvetrano Olives, Baby Artichokes and Acqua Pazza. 1025 E. Ball Rd., (714) 817-4204; www.theranch.com.
Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar – Newport Beach
Expect a three-course brunch option between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Your second course includes Fleming’s signature Eggs Benedict with choice of filet, crab cake, or as a surf and turf with veggie quiche. Entree options are between 6-ounce Filet Mignon, Brioche French Toast and Salmon Cobb Salad. 455 Newport Center Dr., (949) 720-9633; www.flemingssteakhouse.com.
A contributing writer for OC Weekly, Anne Marie freelances for multiple online and print publications, and guest judges for culinary competitions. A Bay Area transplant, she graduated with a degree in Hospitality Management from Cal Poly Pomona. Find her on Instagram as brekkiefan.