While having lunch with colleagues the other day, we got on a discussion about where to get our favorite bowls of açaí. Incredulously, our video producer had never heard of açaí, let alone taste the known "superfood." So we (fellow editors Kristen Nemoto and Rizza Ballesteros) went on a tasting adventure in search of our Top 5 açaí picks. First a little background about this much-touted food. According to the website acairoots.com, the inch-long purple fruit grows on a palm-like tree and has been consumed for hundreds of years in Brazil. It surged in popularity in the late 1980s when the açaí bowl—a concoction of açaí, fruit and other natural ingredients—was first created in Rio de Janeiro, specifically in a town called Copacabana. So with no further ado, here are our Top 5 health food restaurants that serve açaí berry bowls, from least favorite to most favorite.
Mocha Java Bowl at Mocha Java
It was nice revisiting the place where I had my very first açaí bowl. The good thing about this bowl is that it is huge and the single serving was split in two so it's possible to share. The ingredients were listed as organic açaí, strawberries, bananas, granola, apple juice and organic yogurt. I loved the addition of the yogurt but I couldn’t find any strawberries. The açaí itself didn’t taste like much and was on the watery side.
Regular Açaí Bowl at Island Vintage
This Brazilian super fruit is churned out nearly every minute at the Island Vintage Coffee with its classic merry-go-round of sliced bananas, a healthy serving of strawberries and blueberries, all topped off with a heaping dollop of honey.
Blue Hawaii Original at Blue Hawaii Lifestyle
A lot of care was taken into creating this bowl at Blue Hawaii Lifestyle. Strawberries, bananas, blueberries, crunchy granola and honey to add a sweet, gooey burst, adorned a generous portion of açaí. It was quite refreshing and of all the bowls, the açaí had the best consistency and did not become watery. I would have ranked this bowl higher, but I prefer sweet over tart, so it is really a matter of preference.
Açaí Colada at Lanikai Juice
This was a tropical iteration of the traditional bowl of açaí. Ingredients are listed as açaí blended with banana, strawberries, pineapple, honey, natural coconut milk (topped with Maui pineapple and shredded coconut). Other options here include the Açaí Extravaganza, consisting of banana, strawberries, blueberries, and apple juice or soymilk.
Da Mana Bowl at Diamond Head Cove Health Bar
At Diamond Head Cove Health Bar, don’t get distracted by the Pitaya Bowl (dragon fruit) or their health-conscious wraps. You’re there for one thing and one thing only—Da Mana Bowl. A just-enough helping of the good stuff that keeps its form all the way to your last spoonful topped with bananas, strawberries, blueberries and granola then sprinkled with bee pollen and drizzled with local honey (my favorite part). Big enough to share, but not necessary.