By Mike S Payton, Contributing Reporter
MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA – For those that have not tried açaí yet, get ready for a refreshing and healthy frozen bowl of relief-from-the-heat this summer. Açaí Bowls are not new, and after making a splash in the U.S. around ten years ago this Brazilian superfood is not hard to find, but there are four which are served to perfection on South Beach.
Açaí berries are touted as a superfood with anti-aging and weight loss properties. The berry itself is a bitter, reddish-purple fruit that is native to Central and South America. Some studies show that açaí fruit pulp is even richer in antioxidants than cranberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, or blueberries.
Pura Vida is a favorite in SoFi (“South of Fifth” South Beach) with their original location at 110 Washington Avenue, but also have locations in Coral Gables and Edgewater. While they serve a range of organic, locally sourced deliciousness, the menu has four staple açaí bowls.
They have the Bali Crunch, Signature Açaí, PB Energy and Dragon Fruit. Co-Founder and Chief Brand Officer at Pura Vida Miami, Jennifer Horev, shares, “Everywhere we travel, we try the neighborhood cafe açaí. I think it’s safe to say I’ve tried over 1,000 açaí bowls and have yet to find a better bowl than Pura Vida.”
Adding, “I’m obviously biased, but for me it’s the texture and natural sweetness. I cannot stand an icy poor blended açaí base. Another element is the sweetness. Most places believe in adding sweeteners, apple juice, or milk. At Pura Vida, we prepare pure raw organic açaí blended with banana.”
Under the Mango Tree
Under the Mango Tree, on the busy 5th street of South Beach is a local organic café and market and a convenient stroll from the beach. They have a Pure Blend Chocolate Acai Bowl, as well as a Superfood Bowl, which blends açaí with banana, spirulina, and maca and tops it with granola, sliced banana, coconut shavings, goji berries, and local honey.
DIRT is a farm-to-counter fast casual and wellness bar with a location in Sunset Harbor at 1834 Bay Rd, as well as locations in Brickell and more recently, Arlington, Virginia. Their unsweetened organic acai is blended with banana and almond milk, topped with shredded coconut, blueberries, banana, organic chia seeds, and house-made granola. For those that want it sweetened they offer honey or organic agave for a small additional cost.
Dreamer Acai Juice Matcha, specializes in açaí bowls and smoothies, with a variety of fresh fruit toppings that are loaded with all the things a healthy body needs while tasting fantastic. With a location in Sunset Harbor at 1201 20th St, and a new one in SoFi at 100 Collins Ave, these make a perfect to-go option for the beach.
From this list one can’t go wrong, and the only caution for those not familiar, is to make sure to give your mouth a good rinse afterwards as açaí does have a tendency to leave the mouth distinctly purple.