The Best Acai Bowls in Downtown San Diego

Expand your palate and try something new (peanut butter?) in your next (or first) acai bowl in urban San Diego
Katia Carranza at Jai Jus Juice Bar in East Village.

The goal was to identify spots all over downtown San Diego where good acai bowls are served. Along the way, my mind is blown. By peanut butter. Stick around for details below.

I’m an acai bowl junkie. What’s not to like about a frozen base of Brazilian super-berries topped by bananas, blueberries, strawberries and granola? And a drizzle of honey to tie it all together?

That’s my go-to order.

An acai bowl can be a filling and healthy breakfast or lunch meal. Problem is: Out of sight, out of mind. I don’t always remember how much I enjoy spooning into a bowl.

Rather than try to enhance memory function with Prevagen, I decide to research and compile a list of the best bowls served downtown.

I’ve had a short list of favorites: Brickyard Coffee & Tea, Chiefy Cafe, Garage Kitchen & Bar, Lani Coffee and newish Parakeet Cafe.

Two spoons up for all my regular haunts. 

Due diligence demands I bike to Fifteenth Street in East Village for a bowl at one-year-old Jai Jus Juice Bar.

The interior here is bright, colorful, mesmerizing. Everything’s clean. There’s a misunderstanding, though. While I chat with Katia Carranza and Jai Jus business director Ingrid Meza, Carranza whips me up the baseline acai bowl.

Only, the standard bowl comes with an acai base mixed with peanut butter. The dish is also topped with seasonal fruit, granola, goji berries, agave and (gasp) coconut flakes.

I never eat peanut butter and don’t expect it in an acai bowl. Coconut topping is common, but I usually make sure to order a bowl without it.

My mistakes here.

The Jai Jus acai bowl that blew my mind.

Cutting to the chase: My first spoonful of acai mixed with peanut butter is earthy and heavy.

Ever had a taste bud moment when you realize it’s too late to go back? Horror engulfs your digestive metabolism. But in this case, shocked dismay turns to surprise delight. It’s delicious.

Acai with peanut butter. And topped with coconut flakes. I’ve spent my life eschewing both. Seems I’ve been missing out.

(I’m flashing back to a childhood memory. My mom once tried to trick me into liking liver. She served it inside a bun. And told me it was a hamburger. That non-blinded trial failed.)

This unplanned acai field experiment is a success. 

I’ll put Jai Jus on my short list. 

Max Delafuente with his Whatever Bowl in Little Italy’s Everbowl.

Over in Little Italy, I meet local resident Max Delafuente inside Everbowl. He and owner Josh Feldman are immersed in friendly, familiar banter.

Delafuente tells me he stops in here about three times a week. I recount my peanut butter story. He nods effusively.

“Dude, bro!” Delafuente says. “Nut butter is even better!”

He’s partial to the Whatever Bowl, Everbowl’s “create-your-own” offering where you get to pick the ingredients, fruit and toppings.

Everbowl is like the Subway of acai bowls.

Below is a longer list of worthwhile places in urban San Diego that serve acai bowls (prices included). Spots include restaurants, coffeehouses or juice bars. They’re in alphabetical order, separated by neighborhood.

If you know of a good bowl that’s missing from the list, drop me a line via email. This isn’t Yelp (thank goodness), but feel free to let me know about particularly good or bad bowls you’ve had.

Meanwhile, I’ll be continuing to evolve my dining palate. Still, though, no liver. 



Chiefy Cafe.

Broken Yolk Cafe, 355 Sixth Avenue, $14.90

Chiefy Cafe, 777 Sixth Ave, $9.59

Jai Jus Juice Bar, 470 Fifteenth Street, $13

Nekter Juice Bar, 180 Broadway, $9.55

Sammich House, 1048 Seventh Avenue, $8.50

Swami’s Cafe, 611 B Street, $10.95

Sweet Things Frozen Yogurt, 1 Park Boulevard (Hilton Bayside),  $12.99-$14.99

The Bean Box, 707 Broadway, $9.95


Brickyard Coffee & Tea.

Brickyard Coffee & Tea, 675 W. G Street, $11

Lani Coffee, 101 Market Street, $9.50

Skybound Coffee + Dessert, 181 W. Market Street, $9-$13

Vitality Tap, 650 First Avenue, $10.75


The Brazilian Bowl at Parakeet Cafe.

Cafe Gratitude, 1980 Kettner Boulevard, $17.75 

Everbowl Little Italy, 1534 India Street, $9.59- $15.59

Farmer’s Table, 550 Date Street, $15

Lofty Coffee, 444 W. Cedar Street, $15.50

Parakeet Cafe, 1680, India Street, $13-$15


It’s bananas at Kuma Cafe.

Kuma Cafe, 1050 Columbia Street, $11.25


Garage Kitchen & Bar, 655 Fourth Avenue, $11


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