Being from Newport Beach, the origin of the acai bowl fad, I was on the prowl for some awesome acai bowls when I moved to San Diego. San Diego’s “beachy” atmosphere is the perfect platform for acai bowls, and they definitely found their way into the hearts and stomachs of all Southern California natives. This Brazilian superfruit makes a healthy breakfast/lunch option, while also being super yummy. So for you San Diegans, wherever you live…Mission Beach, Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach, La Jolla, Point Loma, North Park, Hillcrest…we’ve got you.
I won’t lie, this was the best acai bowl I’ve ever had. I was immediately blown away when I looked at the menu and saw that you could get 50/50 acai and pitaya, as well as more toppings than any place I’ve ever been. It came with 10 types of fruit (yes, TEN), including grapes and kiwi, which I’ve never seen on an acai bowl before. In addition to normal granola, the bowls were also topped with crushed almonds, which took it over the top. My favorite part about the bowl was how it was layered. I hate having to mix it all together so that there’s an even amount of granola and fruit throughout the acai, so this bowl was the perfect solution. I highly suggest going out to Point Loma for this amazing bowl.
Mission Beach Coffee Break is only a step away from the beach, and on a sunny day you can just walk on over and enjoy it on the sand (AKA what I did). This is also a prime location for students that live in Mission Beach and can’t leave on weekends due to the insane parking. The best thing about this bowl, besides the classic acai bowl taste, was the fact that it was ready in minutes. However, if you’re looking for a new, creative acai bowl mixture, this might not be the place for you because this bowl is the only option.
Rum Jungle is a go-to acai bowl place for my friends and me when we are down in Mission Beach/Pacific Beach. We love this place not only because of its central location, but because it has so many different, unique flavors on the menu. Whatever you’re feeling…they’ve got it. The bowl that I ordered had strawberries and yogurt on top of it! We also love that they are extremely generous with the fruit and granola, which in my opinion, is the best part.
#SpoonTip: You have to ask them to put it in a pineapple, which costs a few extra dollars. I would say it’s definitely worth it though because you get extra granola and fruit on the side, plus it looks pretty.
For you PB folks, Turquoise Coffee is a cute cafe that makes you feel at home. It’s nestled in the middle of the neighborhood and has way more than a classic acai bowl with bomb granola. They also serve a variety of coffee, breakfast sandwiches, smoothies, salads, wraps, and lunch sandwiches. At night, this coffee bar turns into a wine bar…#rage. Turquoise wins for best atmosphere to spend a few hours doing homework.
Triology Sanctuary definitely wins for most unique bowls. I’ve never experienced a “chocoholic” bowl with cacao and peanut butter, topped with homemade granola and all sorts of different nuts…and I loved every bite. The “zingy” bowl had the appearance of a traditional bowl, complete with a pretty layout of strawberries and bananas. However, it did include ginger, which added that unique fresh taste Triology is know for.
We couldn’t resist also ordering the pancakes that were covered in fruit, peanut butter, and cacao bits. Although we rolled out of this place, I would definitely order two meals again. Triology had the coolest vibe of any place I’ve been to. It’s on the roof of a building, in which you can see views of all of La Jolla, as well as the beach. It is also known for its ariel yoga, so you can also watch ariel yoga sessions while enjoying your amazing food.
Juice Crafters definitely provided some competition amongst the other acai bowls I tried. It was basically the perfect acai bowl in my mind: loads of fruit and granola, and a wide bowl so you don’t have to struggle mixing the acai with the fruit and granola. I left Juice Crafters wondering why I had never been there before. The best thing about this place is that there are locations all over San Diego including Hillcrest, Little Italy, Coronado, La Jolla, and Encinitas, as well as LA, and my amazing hometown, Newport Beach.
7. Swami’s Cafe
Swami’s is a really cool cafe chain that has so many unique brunch or lunch options. We went to the location in North Park, but there is also one in Point Loma, and a few other locations up in northern San Diego, such as Encinitas and Carlsbad. The acai bowl was HUGE, so I was glad it came with two spoons. It was a pretty normal acai bowl, although it did have bee pollen on top. We weren’t a huge fan of the bee pollen, but who knows, maybe you will be!
I went in for the purpose of getting an acai bowl, but it was hard to restrain myself from getting pancakes or french toast, so naturally we also got orange raspberry pancakes.
The Blend is located right across from Rum Jungle in Mission Beach/PB, and is definitely a top contender. Although not in a pineapple, there are so many options for both acai bowls and smoothies. I got one with peanut butter in it, and I certainly wasn’t disappointed. It’s also conveniently located right next to the beach to provide for some nice views in which to enjoy your acai bowl.
Juice Kaboose has a few different options for acai bowls, including an original one, one with peanut butter, and one with espresso. I got the peanut butter one and added peanut butter chips, which was a nice touch. This bowl had the perfect amount of fruit and granola. Something interesting about Juice Kaboose is that they also serve other foods, such as sandwiches, wraps, and burritos. You can go to either PB or La Jolla to enjoy these delicious goodies.
10. The Mad Beet
Everyone told me I would be amazed with The Mad Beet in Pacific Beach. I walked in and immediately understood their obsession. Unlike most acai bowl places, there is a ton of seating and cool inspirational artwork on the walls (see above). The menu is so big that it takes up a whole wall, and it took me forever to finally decide what to get because they all looked so good. I finally decided on the Beyoncai, which had peanut butter. Usually the peanut butter is blended in, but they just put it right on top, which was actually delicious. And yes, they do have cute, “punny” names that relate to music and explain the name of the cafe.
11. OB Smoothies
OB Smoothies is a small hole-in-the-wall cafe, with an array of sandwiches, as well as huge acai bowls. They really reminded me of the first acai bowls I ever had back home in Newport Beach from Banzai Bowls. They are really generous with the fruit and granola, which is my favorite part. The only downfall is that there’s so much fruit and granola that it’s hard to mix it in with the acai at the bottom.
At the Lazy Hummingbird the granola was the true star. It is very unique and has chopped peanuts in it, which add a nice new flavor to the typical acai bowl. Although they have less fruit on top, which is kind of a bummer in my eyes, the granola makes up for it.
The cool thing about this place is that it’s more than a place to get your morning drink or acai bowl fix. Located in OB, they also have community classes, art workshops, an art gallery, and furniture for sale.
I go to Nekter at least twice a week in Newport Beach. The great thing about Nekter, besides their delicious acai bowls and smoothies, is that they’re a chain. They have 35 locations in Southern California, in addition to locations in San Francisco, Nevada, Arizona, and Texas. Their acai bowl options include a Berry Banana bowl, a Peanut Butter bowl, and a Pitaya bowl. Nekter’s acai bowls are a decently large size, so you’re definitely not wasting your money here.