Best of Acai Bowls in Orange County


Zachary Ninomiya

An illustration of the iconic acai bowl, topped with granola, bananas, and strawberries.

Riley Pietsch, Photojournalist

As the summer season nears, cold foods regain their popularity. Popsicles by the beach, watermelon by the pool, and more recently, acai bowls on the pier. Acai bowls have gained popularity, as they are both a sweet and healthy treat. The Brazilian dish is served in a smoothie bowl or glass and is composed of mashed frozen fruits of the acai palm, typically topped with fresh-cut bananas and granola. 

Here in Orange County, we are home to some of the most delicious and talked-about acai bowl hot spots. Let’s do a quick rundown on the best locations to grab a cold, fruity acai bowl.

The first on our list is Nekter. Nekter is especially popular among Yorba Linda High School students as the Yorba Linda location is under a mile away from the campus. Not only is it convenient in distance, but it is also on the cheaper side of our list, as their bowls range from $8.55 to $10.20. YLHS student Rachel Lasalle (12) especially loves these bowls because of “the vast amount of options.” 

Nekter truly has a wide range of options, from the simple “Acai Banana Betty Bowl” to the intense “Protein Power” bowl. The fruit is nothing less than fresh, as you can watch staff members construct your meal through the glass. Also, the option of making your bowl entirely dairy-free is always available with items like almond butter and cashew milk presented as alternatives. 

With all of these obvious attributes Nekter holds, it is clear that this establishment is one of the best in Yorba Linda.

Another acai bowl chain that is popular among many is Jamba Juice. The closest location is in Anaheim Hills, roughly four miles away from the YLHS campus. Their bowls begin at just $7.99 but can vary according to personal accommodations. Items like bananas and granola add 50 cents each to the total price, so it becomes quite easy for the bowl to reach high prices.

Jamba Juice’s  “Island Pitaya” bowl is among one of their most popular, and they recently added their “PB Wow Cacao” bowl, which has easily become one of their most sold items on the menu. Similar to Nekter, they are accessible, as there are many locations within Orange County. Also, they too allow for substitutions to make any of their bowls completely vegan.

Jamba Juice is quite popular considering it has been around since 1990, but due to its add-ons and farther distance, it is safe to say that Nekter holds the lead.

Shifting to establishments surpassing a five-mile distance from Yorba Linda, Blue Bowl is one of the highest-rated acai locations within the county. While it is in Orange, substantially farther than Nekter and Jamba Juice, the drive is most definitely worth it. This small location gives customers various options in sizes, as they have three sizes available. Unlike chain companies, Blue Bowl is a “create your own” franchise that does not persuade customers to form their decisions based on the creations showcased on the menu. 

Not only do you get to make your own, custom bowl, but the ingredient list is substantially larger than the previously discussed locations. Varying options in granola and peanut butter allow the customers to have total control over their bowl, ensuring that they make a dish that fully fits their standards. As for vegan customers, the worry of having to supplement items is completely forgotten, as their ingredients are entirely vegan. The prices range from $7-$13 depending on which size you purchase but considering you could pack the bowl with the ingredients of your desire, those prices are quite reasonable. 

While Blue Bowl may often have a line, its amazing ingredients and options make up for it, making it number one on the list.

Lastly, we have Banzai Bowls. Banzai Bowls is located in Newport Beach and definitely fits the trendy scene. With many options on their menu, customers never leave unsatisfied. They have two sizes: large and small. Prices vary from the cheapest being $6.25 and the most expensive being $10.00. 

While they might not have an intense ingredients list, the atmosphere is a major part of the experience. Chowing down on a delicious treat watching as children build sandcastles and surfers shred the gnar, the experience of Banzai Bowls is truly incomparable to our other contestants.

Overall, all four of these locations have amazing acai bowls. If you are looking for a close, accessible place, Nekter and Jamba Juice is definitely your go-to. If you want to have the most delicious acai bowl in the county, Blue Bowl is the place for you. But if you want to eat your bowl with a breathtaking view, Banzai Bowls is where it is at. 

Personally, Blue Bowl is always my number one choice, but you make your pick!