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Ring in spring with the best Easter brunch spots in Austin

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Max's Wine Dive, French toast, creme brulee
Max's Wine Dive French Toast Max's Wine Dive/Facebook
Austin Photo Set: Patricia_get out_march 2013_trio
Trio Courtesy of Trio at the Four Seasons
Austin Photo: Restaurants: Hillside Farmacy
Hillside Farmacy Courtesy of Applebox Imaging/Hillside Farmacy
Austin Photo Set: News_Dupuy_Swifts Attic_may 2012_2
Swift's Attic Photo by Kelsey Orr
Max's Wine Dive, French toast, creme brulee
Austin Photo Set: Patricia_get out_march 2013_trio
Austin Photo: Restaurants: Hillside Farmacy
Austin Photo Set: News_Dupuy_Swifts Attic_may 2012_2

I grew up in the Northeast, where Easter Sunday meant church, lilies, and a traditional dinner with family. In Austin, however, it’s just one more excuse for transplants to congregate over cocktails in the sun.

Grilled meats and festive music are more likely involved than bonnets and roasts; cascarones and bunny piñatas replace hard-boiled egg hunts. And the wealth of restaurants surrounding us make it easy to enjoy a brunch fit for kings or a more laid back, Bloody Mary-infused affair. Here are our top picks for Easter brunch in Austin.

Trio
Trio’s Easter brunch ($78 per adult, $25 per child) is one of the most decadent in the city: think roasted leg of lamb with mint chimichurri, mahi mahi with fennel and sweet onion slaw, cavatapi shrimp and yellow tomato salad, smoked fish and sushi, as well as typical brunch fare (eggs, pancakes and waffles made to order, etc). Seatings are available from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and include a 1,000 egg Easter hunt for the kids. Call 512-685-8300 for reservations.

Russian House
Nothing says Easter like over 70 different flavors of infused vodka and an unlimited Russian feast, replete with savory and sweet blinis, meat or fish-filled kulebyaka, house-cured salmon topped with caviar, and more. Kids under seven eat for free, and kids seven-13 eat for half-off. Adults pay $25, but can rest easy as the kids are occupied with an egg hunt. Na zdorovie!

Hillside Farmacy
Welcome spring as you dine alongside the Farmacy’s street-side garden beds. In addition to the regular menu, Hillside Farmacy will be offering Easter ham steaks and eggs with Springdale Farm asparagus as the special. Wash that down with some house punch and you’ll feel reborn.

The Carillon
The Carillon’s inviting spring brunch includes a cold seafood bar (marinated crab claws, smoked scallops, seared tuna and more), an exquisite display of Texas-produced cheese, and an ungodly offering of truffles, trifles and tarts. $65 for adults, $19.95 for kids with seatings at 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. Reserve a table at 512-404-3655.

Yellow Jacket Social Club
The East Side’s favorite social club will be throwing their annual Easter soiree, featuring their regularly tasty and affordable brunch menu, plus some specials, mimosas a-plenty, a petting zoo, washer tournament and live music. Word to the wise: Try the shrimp and grits or picadillo empanadas.

Max’s Wine Dive
Max’s will feature a brunch buffet from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., with live music, an egg hunt and specials like housemade kolaches and cinnamon rolls, house-smoked trout and salmon, deviled Easter eggs and more, in addition to their regular a la carte menu. Adults are $38 and kids 12 and under are $12.

John Mueller Meat Co.
The notorious John Mueller will be serving his equally famous barbecue starting at 10:30 a.m., but get there at 10 a.m. for free Bloody Marys and Lone Star. You can bet you’ll be sipping them in line for the smoked goods!

Green Pastures
Spend Easter with the peacocks at Green Pastures' historically awesome brunch, which runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The food needs no introduction, and now they’re offering milk punch, too! Worth every penny of $65 per person, I’m sure.

The Wet Whistle
East Austin’s cutest bodega will be hosting a spectrum of vendors on Easter from 12 p.m. - 6 p.m. Come sift through vintage clothing and local art to the tune of live music and to the taste of local food purveyors.

Swift’s Attic
For a brunch that is anything but ordinary, visit Swift’s, where specials include foie gras PB&J pancakes, forbidden rice bibimbap or grilled quail with root veggie hash and eggs. For reservations of four or more, call 512-482-8200.

The Driskill
Brunch at the historic Driskill is sure to be exquisite, with beautiful displays of fruit, seafood, salads, main courses, desserts and carving stations. After brunch, why not stay awhile and get comfortable in their lounge area? I certainly would. Brunch is $65 for adults, $32.50 for kids and children 6 and under are free. For reservations, call 512-439-1234

Sagra
If the $8 all-you-can-drink Bloody Mary and mimosa bar isn’t enough to inspire a visit to Sagra’s new East Side location, I don’t know what is. Maybe the strawberry and ricotta-stuffed French toast? Or egg-stuffed leg of lamb? Or five-cheese polenta? The buffet is $24.95 for adults and $12 for kids 12 and under.

Trace
Trace will feature live music, a prix fixe three-course brunch ($55), and an a la carte menu for kids. The freshly foraged menu will include offerings such as crispy crab cakes (avocado puree, mint citrus fruit, chili vinaigrette), seafood pozole (fresh seafood in a poblano broth, cilantro radish, crisp tortillas) and a spin on good ol’ fashioned Easter ham (Anson mills cheese grits, pear mostarda and braised greens). For reservations, call 512-542-3660.


Eleven Plates
Enjoy Easter brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Eleven Plates, with specials like smoked maple bourbon ham and build-your-own omelettes. Adults eat for $34 and kids 5-12 for $16.

Soleil
Soleil will be offering a traditional brunch between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., with the addition of a build-your-own Bloody Mary and mimosa bar. From 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., there will be an egg hunt, but confirm in advance, since it will be limited to 25 children. Adults eat for $25 and kids for $13.

in.gredients
Bring the kids for a compostable, eco-friendly egg hunt between 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. and stay for brunchy treats and fair trade coffee.

Monument Cafe
The Easter brunch menu (in addition to regular dishes) certainly makes the drive to Georgetown seem insignificant: pecan crusted pork tenderloin with raspberry chipotle sauce, tortilla encrusted tilapia with cilantro cream sauce and corn relish, beef tenderloin with black peppercorn sauce and more.

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