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If you think a meal in a bowl is the best kind of meal, we’re right there with you. And so is San Diego. But with dozens of delicious Buddha, acai, and poke bowl options on every corner, it can be difficult to know where to start. Luckily, we’ve narrowed down our favorites in the scene just for you.
Get ready to take a bowl tour by way of your taste buds.
Northside Shack is our favorite spot on the Point Loma peninsula. This community-oriented beverage bar serves up stellar smoothies, but you can catch us with their Insta-worthy acai bowls. These vegan creations go beyond your standard banana and strawberry blend topped with granola. We’re talking a bowl stacked high with kiwi, mango, blackberries, almonds, chia seeds, coconut shreds, and more. Fitt Tip: if you’re not on the acai train yet, we recommend their pitaya bowl that’s just as delicious.
There’s nothing like refueling with a superfood-packed bowl after a sweaty rooftop yoga classAnd Trilogy Sanctuary has you covered. This wellness hotspot—a yoga studio, spiritual counseling center, boutique, and vegan cafe in one—serves up a handful of “Bountiful Bowls” to satisfy any post-workout craving. Fitt Tip: if you’re following Ayurvedic nutrition, Trilogy offers up a Community Kitchari Bowl that will satisfy your taste buds and your diet.
Avocado Smoothie Bowl? Yes, you heard right. Health and wellness juice bar Vitality Tap’s Green Omega Bowl is perfectly nutritious, delicious, and packed with avocado, matcha, spinach, banana, almond milk, coconut oil, and chia seeds. This Carmel Valley and Downtown SD spot also serves up a huge menu of salad bowls if you’re feeling another shade of green.
Sambazon is the OG name in the acai game, and San Diego is lucky enough to be home to the superfood giant. Set up in Cardiff, Sambazon’s cafe serves up a variety of mouth-watering acai bowls and even offers a build-your-own-bowl option if you’re feeling creative. Even better, not matter what you order, it’s guaranteed to be organic, vegan, gluten-free, and without GMOs.
If you’re looking for a hearty midday meal to help power you through you day, look no further than Healthy Creations Cafe’s menu of Power Bowls. This health food haven in Encinitas starts all its bowls with a quinoa base (or roasted cauliflower base for paleo folks) and then tops them with all sorts of organic produce (like chickpeas, grilled zucchini, sun-dried tomatoes) and simple dressings. The entire menu is gluten-free and uses local ingredients, too!
EVE in Encinitas will transport you to Cuba with their famed Havana Affair Buddha Bowl. This twist on a traditional Buddha Bowl is packed with coconut cilantro lime brown rice, quinoa, Cuban-style black beans, roasted yams, pickled Cuban slaw, wakame chuka, plantains, and a Cuban mojo sauce. Craving a different flavor? They’ve got plenty of other to choose from. And if you’re plant-based, you can opt to top off your bowl with avocado, seitan, falafel, or jackfruit. Eating vegan has never been so fun (or tasty).
Native Foods is 100% plant-based and 100% delicious. While the whole menu is stacked with veggie-forward favorites, Native Foods has perfected the traditional Buddha grain bowl. Filled with teriyaki sweet potatoes, fanned avocado, shiitake mushroom chips, seasonal fruit, roasted corn, daikon sprouts, and cilantro jasmine rice, this bowl (as well as their other selections) is a vegan party in your mouth. With locations in Clairemont Mesa, Point Loma, and Encinitas, you can get your foodie fix no matter where you are in the city.
Just when we thought we couldn’t love poke bowls any more, San Diego Poke Co. introduced their Pineapple Poke Bowl. Instead of being served in a dish, this poke bowl is served in a hollowed out pineapple and is stacked with your choice of protein (shrimp, salmon, tuna, spicy tuna, albacore, octopus, bay scallops, or tofu), seaweed salad, tomatoes, cucumbers, and krab salad. You can find them in Normal Heights and Grantville and they’re a regular at three weekly farmers markets, too.
Pokirrito in Little Italy and Convoy is known for their sushi burritos, but we prefer our fish in a bowl. And here, guests start their bowl-based concoction with a rice or salad mix base and then add in their choice of seafood protein and topping choices (including Flamin’ Hot Cheetos!). Just don’t forget Pokirrito’s famed Golden Ratio Poke Sauce to seal the deal. Regardless of your BYOB (build-your-own-bowl) choices, we recommend sipping on Stumptown coffee as you chow down (they sell it!).
Most people head to Little Italy and Carlsbad’s Harumama for their steamed character buns, but the lesser-known hero on the menu? The Superhero Poke Bowl. This elevated meal-in-a-bowl is stuffed with salmon, rice, avocado, krab, chia seeds, watermelon radish, sweet onion, micro shiso, scallion, furikake, crispy garlic, and tempura crunch, and coated in to-die-for Pokewan sauce. Don’t want to leave the comfort of your couch and change out of your soft pants? They deliver via Postmates.
This wouldn’t be a true San Diego bowl list without a shoutout to SoCal staple Poki One N Half. This place runs on the build-your-own-bowl system, and while every option is a good one, we can’t sing enough praises about their Spicy Mayo sauce that is the key to any bowl combo. With locations in Kearny Mesa, Clairemont Mesa, La Jolla, North Park, and La Mesa, this bowl mecca has your fresh fish cravings met no matter where you are in the city.
Who doesn’t love a good pun? Pacific Beach’s The Mad Beet gets that there’s nothing wrong with having a little fun. That’s why this juice shop’s organic blends and bowls are all named after musicians. And—trust us—these bowls live up to their namesakes’ hype. Our favorites? The Beyoncai (acai, granola, honey, peanut butter, strawberry, and banana) and the Twopac Shakur (acai, pitaya, granola, honey, strawberry, blueberry, and banana).
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