Local pastry and chocolate craftspeople elevate the occasion with exquisitely unique treats.   (copy)

Easter is right around the corner and local restaurants have hatched a number of options this weekend.

First up is Peter B’s Brewpub’s annual Eggstravaganza with 101.7 The Beach on Thursday, April 18. The afternoon features an adult Easter egg hunt, food and drink specials, and outdoor games. (Easter egg hunt sign-ups start at 3pm and are limited to the first 250 participants on a first come basis, 21-plus only.)

Around town, many restaurants will host special brunches on Easter Sunday, April 21.

In downtown Monterey, the Portola Hotel has an Easter brunch in the De Anza Ballroom. Highlights will include traditional breakfast favorites, maple-glazed ham, breakfast buffet stations, a kids menu and more. Also look for an Easter egg hunt at 10am and 12:30pm, an Easter bunny meet and greet, a tableside magician and live music from David Conley on the piano from 11am-3pm. 10am-3pm; $64.95 adults, $49.95 seniors, $25.95 children; reservations required, call 649-7874.

Estéban Restaurant inside the Casa Munras Garden Hotel & Spa celebrates with an Easter buffet brunch. Choose from housemade breakfast pastries, seafood selections, classic breakfast dishes, honey-roasted ham, herb-crusted rack of lamb and more—plus vegetarian options and a kids menu (9am-1pm; $55 adults, $25 children 4-12, children under 3 free). And in the evening, Estéban’s Executive Chef Gus Trejo will offer a la carte additions for Easter dinner, including spring pea soup ($13), grilled asparagus and burrata ($18), herb-crusted rack of lamb ($29) and a special paella with quail, rabbit and prawns ($32) (served 5-9pm). 324-6773 for reservations for either.

The Sardine Factory will serve an Easter lunch featuring a three-course prix fixe menu. Start with a choice of artichoke bisque or asparagus salad, then choice of baked king salmon, slow-cooked prime short rib or filet mignon and prawns, then choice of raspberry panna cotta or chocolate sachertorte for dessert. Limited a la carte options and a kids menu will also be available. 11am-3pm; $49; reservations recommended, 373-3775.

And on Cannery Row, the C restaurant + bar will offer a la carte additions to the daily breakfast menu for Easter. Specials for the day from Executive Chef Matt Bolton include Maine lobster Benedict ($22), honey-roasted ham ($18), croissant French toast ($16), breakfast sandwich ($16), spring vegetable omelet ($17), Castroville artichoke omelet ($18) and chile relleno and eggs ($21). There will also be live music from noon-3pm. 11:30am-3pm; 375-4800 for reservations.

Down the street, the Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa will have a brunch buffet in the Monterey Bay Ballroom. Buffet selections include stations for seafood, omelets, maple-glazed ham, prime rib and more. 10am-2pm; $69 adults, $28 children; 646-1700 for reservations.

Pebble Beach’s Stillwater Bar & Grill will host an Easter brunch featuring stations for seafood, omelets and carved meats. 10am-2:30pm; $116 adults, $54 children 5-12; call 866-876-3130 for reservations.

In Carmel, Aubergine hosts a luxurious Easter brunch with selections from Executive Chef Justin Cogley and Pastry Chef Yulanda Santos. Start with Pacific Gold oysters, caviar and smoked salmon latkes for the table then choice of white asparagus and ham, Maine lobster risotto or crown of lamb, with choice of dessert to finish. 11am-2pm; $125; 624-8578 for reservations.

And Cantinetta Luca has a special three-course menu for Easter weekend, available at brunch (Saturday and Sunday, 11:30am-3pm, $24) and dinner (Friday-Sunday, 5-10pm, $30). 625-6500 for reservations.

At Basil Seasonal Dining, look for a la carte menu additions for Easter Sunday, plus a complimentary mimosa or bellini at brunch. 11am-2pm; for reservations, call 626-8226.

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Carmel Mission Ranch will have a breakfast buffet, complete with a carving station. 10:45am-1:45pm; $56 adults, $25 children; reservations: 625-9040.

Down the coast, the Hyatt Carmel Highlands has an Easter brunch buffet with omelet and carving stations. Also look for country ham, a chilled seafood station, pastries and more. 11am-2:30pm; $90 adults, $40 children 5-12, children under 4 free; 620-1234 for reservations.

In Carmel Valley, Edgar’s at Quail Lodge will offer an Easter brunch. Start at the fresh smoothie bar or nibble cured selections from the charcuterie bar, then enjoy a plated appetizer and choice of entree, with a dessert bar for a sweet finish. And keep an eye out for the golden egg during the Easter egg hunt on the driving range at noon, 3 and 6pm, complete with a visit from the Easter bunny. 10am-5pm; $65; reservations required: 620-8910.

And Bernardus Lodge will have a grand Easter brunch. Executive Chef Cal Stamenov and Pastry Chef Kelsey Larson will prepare a traditional menu leveraging the organic chef’s gardens and featuring salads, grilled vegetables, naturally raised meats, farmhouse cheeses and fresh fruit tarts. There will also be a children’s Easter egg hunt from 11:30am-2pm and photos with the Easter bunny. 11am-3:30pm; $88 adults, $35 children 5-12; reservations recommended: 658-3400.

In Seaside, Bayonet and Black Horse has an Easter brunch buffet with a build-your-own omelet station, prime rib, honey-baked ham and more. Meet the Easter bunny from 11am-3pm and take part in an Easter egg hunt at noon and 2pm. 11am-4pm; $38.95 adults, $18.95 children 5-12, children under 4 free; for reservations, call 899-5954.

And Gusto will have special Easter a la carte additions for lunch and dinner, plus a complimentary mimosa. Lunch 11:30am-2:30pm, dinner 4:30-9pm; 899-5825 for resies.

If you’re staying in for Easter, stock up for your feast at The Meatery. The Seaside butcher shop has a limited stock of Carmel Valley spring lamb and Berkshire whole and half hams perfect for Easter dinner. Call 656-8810 for more information.

And what would Easter be without chocolates. Monterey’s Parker-Lusseau Pastries has an assortment of chocolate bunnies for sale. And why should the Easter bunny get all the attention? The shop also has chocolate turtles, hedgehogs, chickens, lady bugs and more for sale.

Newcomer Alta Bakery + Cafe has chocolate truffles and eggs for sale from Culinary Director Ben Spungin.

At Sweet Elena’s Bakery in Sand City, look for traditional Easter sweet treats like hot cross buns, Italian colomba pasquale cake (the Easter equivalent of panettone), plus a wide selection of cookies, tarts and other pastries.

And speaking of cookies, Carmel’s Cantinetta Luca has a pair of cookie decorating classes coming up for kids to get in the spring spirit. Friday, April 19 and Saturday, April 20, 3-4pm; $25, parental supervision required, parents may join children at no additional cost; 625-6500 to sign up.

Congregation Beth Israel’s annual community Passover seder is Saturday, April 20 at 6pm. The community feast is open to the public and will feature a traditional dinner of matzo ball chicken soup, gefilte fish, savory horseradish, pan-seared chicken breast, smashed potatoes, dessert and ceremonial wine (or grape juice for children). Vegetarian and kids meals are also available upon request. And now the bad news: reservations were required by April 13. But call 624-2015, just in case they still have a spot.

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