Where to Get Your Downtown Acai Bowl and Smoothie Fix
Summer in the city can be brutal, but you don’t need to stay home and bear hug your window AC as it rattles and roars to avoid the hellish heat. Sure, pitchers of frosé have their place and time—brunch—but staying hydrated is essential, especially during an inevitable heatwave. Luckily, NYC is home to some of the best juice bars, where acai bowls and smoothies are aplenty. Plus, they’re both a delicious and healthy way to keep cool this summer. As warmer weather rolls in, we’re sharing where to head downtown to get your acai bowl and smoothie fix.
Nestled on a busy stretch of First Avenue, this East Village hole-in-the-wall offers not only some of below 14th Street’s most Insta-worthy acai bowls, but also plenty of pitaya and coconut bowls, smoothies, juices, bubble teas, and iced green teas. A local (and quite satiating) favorite is “The Almond Acai Bowl” – toppings include a glistening mountain of fresh fruit, almond butter, granola, and chia seeds. In the mood for a sweet smoothie chock-full of antioxidants? Go for the “Goji Master” (goji berry, strawberry, blueberry, banana, maca, and chia seeds) or “Lychee Valentine” (lychee, beet, strawberry, mango, and watermelon), then carefully stab through the plastic-film-sealed lid with a neon-colored bubble tea straw. Happiness and healthiness are just a slurp away.
192 1st Ave, New York; (212) 477-0071
This small East Village spot serves up a variety of wellness-friendly delights, including acai bowls, cold-pressed juices, smoothies, protein shakes, vegan soups, avocado toasts, gluten-free oatmeals, and more. The acai bowl with the wow factor is the aptly-named “V.I.P.” – organic acai is blended with banana and almond milk and topped off with even more banana, goji berries, dragon fruit, strawberries, hemp seeds, and gluten-free granola. We suggest adding your favorite nut butter for a boost of protein and healthy fats. If you prefer a smoothie, order the crazily refreshing “OMG” (strawberry, papaya, raw agave, and freshly squeezed orange juice) or, for a caffeinated kick, opt for the “Frappe Coco” (banana, cacao nibs, vanilla, raw agave, and cold brew coffee). Still hungry? Agavi’s vegan banana bread really hits the spot.
72 E 7th St, New York; (212) 390-8042
Hawa Smoothies & Bubble Tea
Before making your way to Seward Park on a sweaty summer day, you must swing by this nearby cash-only joint and grab something to keep you cool. Tucked away on East Broadway, this teeny-tiny spot offers an exhaustive slew of smoothie options, from “detox” smoothies to acai superfood smoothies. Also on the menu? Bubble teas, fresh-pressed juices, and nicely portioned, really good acai bowls without any bells and whistles. This beloved Lower East Side spot is so low-key and homey, first-timers might be surprised to learn that it’s a mini-chain with a few locations dotting the city.
181A E Broadway, New York; (646) 590-1911
Madhufalla Green Planet Organics
Give your mind, body, and soul a major boost at this no-frills Nolita juicery and all-around healthy haven. Comb the aisles stocked with supplements, vitamins, and healthy snacks, then hit up the celery juice-overflowing juice bar. Deliciously detox with a super fresh (and reasonably-priced) juice, like their “Cleansing” juice, which is made with carrots, beets, apples, and ginger, and tastes as good as it is good for you. You’ll also see many smoothie variations on the chalkboard menu, ranging from the protein-packed to the fruit-forward, as well as shakes and wellness shots. Plus, all ingredients used are organic, vegan, non-GMO, and gluten-free.
183 Mulberry St, New York; (212) 226-8927
If you’ve ever walked past Pause Cafe on a sunny weekend, you’ve likely spotted folks spilling out onto Clinton Street while waiting in line. And good luck trying to grab a seat after placing your order – your best bet is cramming into the outdoor communal picnic tables. Pause is worth the wait, boasting a menu that’s stacked with something delicious for everyone: salads, sandwiches, grain bowls, pastries, smoothies, juices, great coffee, superfood lattes, and some of the most beautiful and unique acai bowls in all of Manhattan. Matcha fans will particularly lose their minds over the “Matcha Green Bowl,” an antioxidant-heavy blend of acai, pineapple, mango, ginger, green apple, pure matcha, and spirulina, and it’s garnished with granola, banana, coconut shavings, strawberry, matcha, buckwheat, and agave. Double your matcha intake and pair the green goodness with a matcha latte. Feeling nutty? Choose the extra-rich and almost dessert-like “Mix Nuts Bowl” – acai is blended with banana, walnut, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, almond butter, and almond milk. Toppings include granola, banana, chopped almonds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, and honey. Go on and perfectly pair it with a creamy charcoal latte.
3 Clinton St, New York; (212) 677-5415
WORDS: Alex Catarinella
FEATURED IMAGE: pausecafenyc.com