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Whole Foods--Prepared foods section

I've never seen any postings on this, but what do you all think of Whole Foods' prepared foods? I usually go to the one on Cambridge St. in Beacon Hill, but have never tried any of the prepared foods. I'm talking about the section where they have the buffet thing and then the counter area where you can get stuff and then eat it at the cafe area of the store. Just curious if it's any good or just blah.

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  1. Actually, the Cambridge St. store is one of the better ones; they vary wildly. It really does depend on the "team" in that particular stores, because they use a lot of the same recipes. Since the Charles crcle store does a lot of its business in take-out, the prep foods team there is really good. i actually got some fried clams there during the summer that had just come out, and were excellent! The chef was trilled when I told him..Really, i swooned. Their pizza is way overpriced...

    The best WF prepared foods I've had, on a reliable basis, were at the store in Unoivesity heights in Providence, and the Newtonville store has the best sushi bar...

    1. The Cambridge stores are blah....... Everything pretty bland and certainly overpriced.

      1 Reply
      1. re: trembler

        I haven't been in a while, but I remember the Alewife WF being much better than the rest of the cambridge stores.

      2. It is VERY hit or miss and even the hits are so overpriced. I find that they usually do the Indian inspired dishes pretty well. Otherwise I find much of their prepared food extremely bland and not particularly well cooked. There are just too many other options.

        1. i like their grain salads, very interesting combinations.

          however, they fail when it comes to falafel. dry and hard as rocks--and not very flavorful either.

          1. Haven't tried much but I am a fan of the broccoli slaw. Have tried to make it myself but prefer WF's. A little pricey.

            1. The closest Whole Foods to me is in Bedford. They have both a salad bar and a hot buffet @$7.99/lb, and an antipasto bar @$9.99, which I have looked at but never sampled.

              Generally the cold stuff, including the ends of the "hot" area, is vastly superior to the hot, which tends to run to chicken wings, meatballs, lasagne and mac&cheese. The one time they had Indian dishes, they were good, but I haven't seen them in months. The greens and veggies are fresh, but I'm not paying $8/lb for shredded carrots. Their mixed salads with large amounts of protein - beef, fish, shrimp, chicken - are worth the price, also the artichoke hearts, guacomole, etc. If you choose carefully you can get your money's worth. Obviously I am not a vegetarian, so I can't give you that perspective.

              1. I used to get a lot of prepared foods at the Bedford store back in the day when it was Bread & Circus. Since then, the quality has plummeted as the prices have soared. Mushy noodles in the mac&cheese, pasta and seafood casseroles that cleanse one's system more efficiently than a colonic, and an over-reliance on pepper for seasoning -- all priced at $8/lb -- have finally convinced me to grab a can of soup or something from the frozen food aisle. Fresh Pond isn't much better.

                1. I love their samosas. The filling is more mashed than in Indian restaurants. I've never been a fan of the cubed potatoes.

                  A lot of the food comes from a production kitchen in Everett, especially the prepackaged stuff in the refrigerated case near the salad bar. And most of that is the same as you'll find in the salad bar itself, or at the "deli" counter. Hot stuff, like the fried fish, is definitely made in house, though.

                  1. Hit and miss, mostly miss. Absurdly overpriced--often as expensive as much better upscale restaurant food. Individual stores across the US vary widely in quality. The store in Central/Inman across from Koreana is probably the worst I've seen.

                    There was a time when I thought Whole Foods was excellent, but either their standards have dropped or I've come to my senses.

                    1. My big disappointment at Whole Foods (Symphony) was the time I ordered an antipasto platter to bolster the feed at a last-minute party. It was very expensive ($80) and consisted of inferior cold cuts, cheeses, pickled vegetables, and weak bread: just plain bad. It really surprised me. Can't vouch for much else; I'm not a big consumer of supermarket prepared foods. I can't escape the nagging suspicion that it's a way to dispose of meat and produce that's about to pass its last-fresh-sale date.

                      1. I'd say that in general, the prepared foods there are pretty average, and with not-very-average prices. Some dishes are double what you would pay at other markets. I'd personally go with Roche Brothers' prepared foods over Whole Foods. Or a smaller, independent place like D'Agostino's in Arlington or Bob's in Medford.

                        1. my philosophy; prepared foods at whole foods are a siren- they'll lure you in every time -- agreed that they are average (though some of the prepared foods i've had there have been just bad) and WAY overpriced (in particular, i'm thinking of river st. in cambridge)

                          1. My favorite prepared food @ Whole Foods is the Italian Sub. I've seen it at most Boston area locations.