If you have gotten within 15 miles of the Jersey Shore you have heard the buzz around this up and coming smoothie shop called Playa Bowls. Playa Bowls started out when two Jersey Shore natives opened a storefront on 8th and Ocean in Belmar, NJ not expecting this explosion of popularity. Today, if you enter any of their four locations the line is out the door and the environment is buzzing.
Personally, I am a newbie to the whole açai bowl scene but I am definitely here to stay. Like many others, after my first bowl I became addicted. I even went so far as to buy the açai they use at Playa Bowls and try to make it myself (yeah it was a total fail but I am still experimenting).
But there is just something going on in Playa Bowls that their bowls are perfection. I have only tried one bowl but what better excuse to try a bunch of different bowls than an article (THANKS SPOON).
Now, your first time in Playa Bowls is probably going to be as overwhelming as mine. Chill out, don't worry, that's what I am here for. I am here to embarrass myself and order and taste test a bunch of bowls so you can fly into the doors like a pro and order your bowl like a boss.
Walking in the door you are not only met with a line longer than the DMV, you are also greeted by the shouting of blenders and order numbers. The smell of apple juice and Nutella is circulating while the decor and ambiance of a Hawaiian smoothie shack makes you grin.
My favorite thing is when you walk into a restaurant or shop and it takes you to another place. Walking into this local Mexican restaurant near me takes me straight to cali and its honestly the best experience. Walking into Playa Bowls you are taken to a surfer shack in Hawaii and the Jersey Shore seems across the country rather than two steps out the door.
After taking in the ambiance you have to face the menu. This menu, while beautifully written on a chalkboard, is quite overwhelming.
The menu is split up into categories with their specials and new products propped up next to the register. The different categories include açai bowls, coconut bowls, pitaya bowls, green bowls, smoothies, and juices. Under each menu item is a short description of its delicious smoothie base and tasty toppings. Now, lets get to the good shit, the taste-tasting.
This açai bowl is called The Nutella and it is my personal favorite. I did tweak it to my own preferences but let me break it down for you. The purple base of the bowl is a blend of organic açai, bananas, and apple juice topped with strawberries, bananas, coconut flakes, granola, and a Nutella drizzle (#sexual).
I personally hate hate hate coconut. The taste, the texture, the smell- I hate it all so I opt out of the flakes and while I love bananas I like the blueberries and nutella mix better so I make a quick swap.Rating: 10/10
This beautiful bowl is called the Pink Power bowl and not only was it the most beautiful thing I have ever eaten it was also pretty damn good. This bowl is made from blended organic pitaya, pineapple, bananas, vanilla protein and coconut milk topped with bananas, granola, and a honey drizzle.
As I stated earlier I am not a fan of coconut in any way, shape, or form BUT I did get this bowl called the Nutelloco with an open mind. I did however opt out of the coconut flakes...I ain't that open minded.
This bowl is made up of blended organic raw coconut, banana, agave, and coconut milk then topped with bananas, strawberries, granola, coconut flakes, cacao nibs, and nutella drizzle. Not to disrespect the Playa Bowl gods but I gagged trying this bowl. The texture of the bowl was chunky with coconuts and that is a big no no from me.
Okay yeah it kinda does look like puke but IRL it tastes pretty damn good. I have only had kale once in my life before this and I wasn't a huge fan but this healthy bowl is actually also tasty.
called the ocean avenue and is made of blended, kale, pineapple, bananas, and coconut milk topped with bananas, granola, and honey.
This pretty bowl is called the Stupid Cupid and my friend Christie's numero uno go to at Playa. This bowl is made from blended strawberries, bananas, and coconut milk topped with strawberries, coconut shavings, raw coconut nibs, a white chocolate drizzle, granola, and a Nutella drizzle.
Yes it is as good as it sounds and while I did avoid the coconut shaving the coconut milk in the blend really added some good flavor (can't believe I just said that).
Overall Playa Experience: Always 11/10
I am a huge Playa Bowl fan even if its a coconut bowl. The vibe, decor, and polite employees make this place a great experience even if you're waiting on line out the door. Okay stop reading now, go to playa you can thank me later.