Açaí is a reddish-purple berry that comes from the açaí palm tree, located in Central and South America. The açaí berry is rich in fiber and antioxidants. Açaí bowls are kind of like thick smoothies topped with granola, fruit, peanut butter, almond butter, goji berries, chia seeds, etc., but they’re eaten with a spoon.

Although açaí is a Brazilian berry, it is becoming increasingly popular in the U.S. because of its health benefits, unique flavor, and rejuvenating effect.

There are tons of places to get açaí around Los Angeles, but below is a list of the top five açaí bowl places in and around the city. 

1. Ubatuba Açaí

The açaí at Ubatuba is slightly unique because it’s much more frozen than the açaí I've tried at any other place. Therefore, if you don’t like your açaí bowls as liquidy or “smoothie-like,” then Ubatuba is the place for you.

Ubatuba provides a wide range of toppings that you can choose from to customize your own bowl. Of course, they offer the typical toppings, such as banana, strawberries, blueberries, granola, coconut shavings, goji berries, and peanut butter; however, they also offer more unusual toppings like chocolate chips, greek yogurt, dates, passion fruit, and almonds. My personal favorite addition to my açaí bowl at Ubatuba is Nutella, which gives it a richer and sweeter taste–almost like dessert

2. Açaí Nation

Melissa Simon

At Açaí Nation, the bowls are filled to the very top, yet they’re still slightly cheaper than any other açaí bowl place I've found so far. Açaí Nation has two locations: one in Brentwood on San Vicente and one in the Pacific Palisades (I used to work there!). At the Brentwood location, you can eat your bowl outside at the tables with baskets filled with real fruit as the centerpieces.

Melissa Simon

The Palisades location has more of a surfer/beach vibe, where you can eat your bowl while relaxing on the purple lounge chairs in front of the shop. What’s unique about Açaí Nation is that there are five different granolas to choose from: Almond French Vanilla (the most popular), Wild Blueberry, Apple Cinnamon, Maple Pecan, and Gluten Free Granola.

The most popular bowl on the menu is the Classic Açaí Bowl, which is topped with banana, strawberries, coconut flakes and granola. I highly recommend the Rio De Janeiro Bowl, topped with banana, peanut butter, crushed walnuts, and granola. If you're in need of a smoothie fix, I recommend the Nutty Start, a replenishing and energizing smoothie that contains walnuts, almond milk, banana, dates, almond butter, and cacao nibs

3. Juice Crafters

The açaí bowls at Juice Crafters are huge servings, but every bite is so worth it. The most common bowl is topped with banana, strawberries, granola, and coconut flakes. Juice Crafters promotes a healthy lifestyle and serves to “rejuvenate” their customers. They proudly serve delicious smoothies, wellness shots, and cold-pressed juices as well.

If you’re more of a smoothie person, I recommend the Crunchy Monkey, which contains cacao nibs, cacao powder, goji berries, walnuts, almond milk, cinnamon, vanilla, banana, and dates. The Cure Me Now wellness shot is perfect for when you’re feeling under the weather and need to refuel your body. It contains ginger, lemon, cayenne, turmeric, and oregano oil. It’s extremely strong and sorta spicy, but if you down it in one shot, you won't regret it. 

4. Amazebowls 

Melissa Simon

Amazebowls sells their fresh bowls from three different locations. There's one shop at the Arts District, another on Venice Boardwalk, and an "on-the-go shop" called The Purple Truck that roams around the streets of Los Angeles. Amazebowls is known for using actual coconuts as their bowls to hold the açaí. If you're looking for the perfect Instagram, Amazebowls has got you covered. 

5. SunLife Organics 

SunLife promotes healthy living through eating superfoods and organic products, exercising regularly, surrounding yourself with a tight-knit community, and communicating face-to-face, rather than virtually, with others. The first SunLife was opened in the Malibu Country Mart, but now there are many other locations throughout L.A.

My favorite açaí bowl at SunLife is the Brazilian Bowl. The base contains blended açaí, banana, strawberry, blueberry, apple juice, and almond milk. It's topped with crunchy granola, banana, strawberry, hemp seeds, and coconut flakes. SunLife has got it all–a menu full of tasty options, clean and trendy-looking shops in various locations, and good vibes all around. 

Açaí bowls are fresh and rejuvenating. They serve as the perfect meal for breakfast, lunch, or a post-workout snack. Grab your best friends and drive around the city to try every açaí place in all of L.A. There are definitely more than five.