Previously a Summer staple, the humble acai bowl has become an all-year-round menu favourite. And for good reason; the antioxidant-rich, superfood berry, which has almost 2 million tags on Instagram, is hard to resist even in the coldest of months (as much as you wish you could). However, with so many options popping up all over town, it’s hard to know where to begin. Never fear, we’ve sampled acai’s all over town so you didn’t have to (It’s truly a hard life) and compiled a list of Melbourne’s best and finest. Be warned though, once you go acai, you don’t go back.
I present to you: Melbourne’s best acai bowl, complete with bananas cut into tiny little stars, and all. Photo by: Natalee Erceg.
With flavours such as ‘Peanut Butter & Jelly’, it’s not hard to see why newcomer Cocomamma tops the list. A health food bar in the heart of Elsternwick, Cocomamma is set to be the queen of smoothie bowls this year. Indeed, it’s not uncommon to witness a line form outside during the lunchtime rush, or see one of their now famous bowls, pop up on your Instagram feed. Topped with seeds, nuts, fresh fruit, and homemade granola, the beloved Acai bowls are generous, reasonably priced and bursting with flavour. Move over Nutella donuts, there’s a new sheriff in town.
WHERE TO FIND THEM: 1C Staniland Grove, Elsternwick VIC 3185
PH: 9972 9592
Heaven is a place on Earth. Photo by: Natalee Erceg.
Having served acai for years, before it became a trend, Nutrition bar is a beloved Melbourne favourite. Their bowls are simple, no fuss, take-away containers prepared in minutes, cheap (averaging $12.50 a bowl), flavoursome and generous. It’s no wonder they’ve begun to open up multiple locations across Melbourne to keep up with the demand. With stores across town, you have no excuse not to visit a Nutrition bar (and try an acai bowl!) near you.
WHERE TO FIND THEM: Multiple locations across Melbourne.
Howly bowly indeed. Photo by: Natalee Erceg.
They say a picture speaks a thousand words. And boy does a photo of Howly Bowly’s acai bowl really say it all. Although blended with the usual suspects, banana, blueberries and coconut water, there’s more than just the standard acai available at this Brighton hotspot. Think peanut butter bowls, topped with generous servings of peanut butter, an acai lovers dream, or their ‘fully loaded’ acai bowl, topped with a superfood crunch, cacao nibs, coconut flakes, strawberries, and kiwi, for those after that little bit extra. There’s even a protein bowl available for those after their post-workout fix. I’ll have one of everything, please.
WHERE TO FIND THEM: 531 Hampton St, Hampton VIC 3188
PH: 9521 0722
Is anyone else having trouble concentrating past the ice-cream? Photo from @serotonindealer instagram.
Not many acai bowls come complete with a vegan Magnum ice cream. That is unless you’re at Serotonin Eatery. A vegan’s heaven, and, really, any foodies heaven, Serotonin’s acai bowl might appear decadent at first sight, but is just as wholesome, and just as nourishing, as the ‘happiness café’s’ entire menu. Dairy and added sugar-free, the bowls also have a ‘gluten free’ option available, for those with certain dietary requirements. Dessert for breakfast without the guilt? Finally, a diet I can do!
WHERE TO FIND THEM: 52 Madden Grove, Burnley VIC 3121
PH: 9428 8256
For those who have been known to eat peanut butter out of the jar ( don’t lie, we’ve all done it), this one’s for you. Photo by: Natalee Erceg.
Fourth Chapter’s acai bowls are reminiscent of the expression ‘go big or go home’. And while you are not actually invited to do so, their acai bowl is certainly impressive. Topped with balls of coyo (coconut yogurt) and peanut butter, berries and granola, and blended with coconut water, Fourth Chapter’s offering Is everything an acai bowl should be; Sweet with the perfect blend of crunchy, topped with peanut butter. What more could anyone need, ever? Pro tip; order a picnic basket online the day before, and enjoy this perfect summer’s treat in the beautiful neighbouring gardens.
WHERE TO FIND THEM: 385 High St, Prahran VIC 3181
PH: 9510 2277
Food for the soul. Photo from @soul.press instagram. Photo by: Natalee Erceg.
If I had 3 wishes, 2 of them would be used on Soul Press’ acai bowl. Or I could just use one wish on a lifetime supply, but enough about logistics. The point is, Soul Press knows what they’re doing when it comes to acai. In a town where there’s a café on every corner, it’s hard to stand out from the pack. But Soul Press does just that, and their loyal customers just keep coming back for more. Offering more than just acai, you’re invited to lunch on a ‘bowl with the lot’, complete with caramelised bukinis, strawberries, coconut chips, choc goji’s, a bliss ball, and paleo muesli, with an optional topping of peanut butter sauce or passionfruit, or a ‘hot bowl’, topped with coyo, muesli and warm spiced stewed apples, it’s the perfect winter warmer, among other options. It’s acai for the heart and soul!
WHERE TO FIND THEM: 624 Hampton St, Brighton VIC 3186
PH: 9994 3290
Move over ice-cream. I scream – you scream – we all scream for acai! It doesn’t quittee have the same ring to it but it’s our latest summer obsession (and soon to be yours). Photo by: Natalee Erceg.
Don’t let the name throw you off, Green Cup is more than just kale smoothies. As delicious as they are, Green Cup also offers a range of acai options, from the standard acai, blueberry blend, to the mouth-watering and coveted peanut butter bowl, that’ll keep you coming back for more. Perfect for breakfast on the go, or an afternoon pick me up, these handy takeaway cups will be your latest obsession. Run, don’t walk!
WHERE TO FIND THEM: 593 Chapel St, South Yarra VIC 3141
PH: 9827 8882
A bowl that tastes as good as it looks (if that’s even possible). Photo by: Natalee Erceg.
While originally placing themselves on Melbourne’s radar with their ‘freakshakes’ and waffles, Phat Milk is also home to one of Melbourne’s best acai bowls. Topped with an impressive selection of fresh fruits (i.e. dragon fruit!), coconut, granola and passionfruit, these bowls are as pretty as they are delicious. And for those tempted to bypass the acai and head straight for the waffles, this is the perfect option if you’re looking to add a bit of sweetness to your morning, without the guilt.
WHERE TO FIND THEM: 208 Mt Alexander Rd, Travancore VIC 3032
PH: 9376 6643
Please Mr. Mister, I want some more! Photo by: Natalee Erceg.
Initially a Summer option, Mr.Mister’s acai bowl became integrated into the Chapel Street cafes menu following its trailblazing success. And lucky Melbourne that it did, because it is goooood. With a generous serving size (you’ll be hard pressed to finish the bowl but won’t want to leave a single delicious scoop) and an abundance of granola, banana, and strawberries, this will fast become one of your favourite breakfasts, never mind acai bowls. Please sir, may I have some more?
WHERE TO FIND THEM: 161 Chapel St, Windsor VIC 3181
PH: 9529 3902
The next best thing to a tropical island getaway. Photo by: Natalee Erceg.
Your soul may not need saving after a taste of SOS’s acai bowl, but your heart will; for it now belongs to somebody – or should I say something- else. Served in a layered Jar (which is handy for those who like to get a ‘lil’ bit of everything in each mouthful’, with house granola, toasted coconut flakes and fresh seasonal fruit, you’ll be hard pressed to resist this even on the coldest of days.
WHERE TO FIND THEM: 5/177 Toorak Rd, South Yarra VIC 3141
Words by: Natalee Erceg.