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Yurika Shigemoto is a full-time nurse that loves to eat, lift, and travel. Follow her foodie adventures on her Instagram page, @fitfoodiehi.
Acai bowls are the perfect any day, anytime treat. Enjoying them is one of my favorite ways to cool down after a hike, workout or day at the beach. I'll even have it for breakfast to kickstart my day. I just love that I don't feel guilty for indulging in one because acai is super healthy.
My criteria for this best acai bowl roundup are:
- The acai needs to have the perfect amount of sweetness and a firm consistency
- An ideal balance between acai and granola
- Must have a creative element or topping.
I prefer my acai less sweet because I enjoy the taste of the berries instead of the added sugar. I also look for Goldilocks consistency – it shouldn't be too icy nor too liquidy but smooth like sorbet. Last but not least, I check to make sure the amount of acai and granola matches: it makes me sad when I finish the acai but there’s still some leftover granola.
I tried 23 acai bowls across the state to arrive at my final ranking:
Hawaiian Aroma Caffe & Bar
Da Cove Health Bar
Down to Earth
Well + Proper
Kokonuts Shave Ice & Snacks
Jewel or Juice
The Sunrise Shack
Island Vintage Shave Ice
Nalu Health Bar
Ha Coffee Bar
Anake’s Juice Bar
Aloha Aina Juice Café
Eat Healthy, Kauai
Liittle Fish Coffee
Makani’s Magic Pineapple Shack
Bare Foot Zone
Here are my picks for the best acai bowl in Hawaii.
No. 5: Nalu Health Bar & Cafe, Nalu Bowl
There are few Nalu Health Bar & Café locations on Oahu but I usually go to the Ward location for the Nalu bowl. It includes organic acai topped with bananas, strawberries, blueberries, granola, bee pollen and honey but you may add more toppings if you like. I get the 16-ounce bowl ($10.25) when I’m hungry or if I want a small snack, the 8-ounce ($5.95) is enough. Their acai is earthy and isn’t sweet, which is how I prefer it. It's also not as viscous compared to most bowls but it gets my fifth spot because I love the flavor and the granola-to-acai ratio is perfect.
1170 Auahi St. • Kakaako • 597-8871
No. 4: Kokonuts Shave Ice & Snacks, Acai Supreme
The Acai Supreme with soymilk ($10) comes with organic granola, bananas, honey, crispy coconut flakes and strawberries. You can actually choose to mix your acai with apple juice if you prefer it sweeter. I always add their super soft mochi balls for an extra dollar. The acai melts quickly but the flavor is great. The balance between the acai and granola is perfect but when I add mochi, I could use a little extra acai to balance it out.
7192 Kalanianaole Hwy. • Koko Marina Shopping Center • Hawaii Kai • 396-8809
No. 3: Hawaiian Aroma Caffe, Berry Bowl
Update: As of September 2020, this shop is temporarily closed.
The berry bowl ($13.95) comes topped with chocolate chips, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, honey and bee pollen and I add on their special peanut butter topping for $2. I love this bowl because it has a great selection of fruits and toppings. The peanut butter is smooth and creamy but makes this a $16 acai bowl. This acai isn’t sweet and has a firm, sorbet-like consistency. The granola is crunchy and I finish the granola and acai at the same time! Perfect acai-to-granola ratio.
1777 Ala Moana Blvd. • Waikiki • 256-2602
No. 2: Island Vintage Shave Ice, Haupia Moana Bowl
The Haupia Moana bowl ($10 small, $13 large) comes with frozen haupia cream, shaved coconut, Big Island organic honey, bananas and granola.I ike to add on housemade almond butter for an additional $1.50. The creamy haupia sorbet is super refreshing and the almond butter adds a bit of luxe. Island Vintage's Cacao Moana and Lilikoi Moana bowls are just as amazing and if I deviate from haupia, it's for one of these. The cacao bowl comes with Waialua cacao nibs, housemade almond butter, local raw white honey, bananas and granola. The lilikoi bowl has strawberry, papaya, fresh housemade lilikoi honey, bananas and granola. The consistency of the acai is perfectly smooth and firm, however, the quality of the granola is mediocre — it isn't the same high-quality granola I've had in the other bowls.
1450 Ala Moana Blvd. • Ala Moana • https://www.islandvintagecoffee.com/
No. 1: Well + Proper, Acai Bowl
Update: As of September 2020, this shop appears to have closed.
This Downtown spot has my favorite acai of all time. They blend nut mylk, cacao nibs, blueberries, bananas, housemade granola, coconut, strawberries, mac nut butter and raw cacao drizzle into one fabulous bowl ($9.50). The best thing about this place is the housemade granola that's unlike any other I've had before. This bowl has cacao overtones and the mac nut butter makes it rich and decadent.
918 Smith St. • Downtown • 319-7544