Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Greater Boston Area >
Jun 27, 2013 10:32 AM

Best Whole Foods in Boston Area

Which one is your favorite? Dedham? Cambridge?

Which one carries the most interesting products?

Which one has the best in-house coffee roaster?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I'm not a regular WF customer, so I can't really answer your last two questions. Of the ones I've visited, I like the one in Hingham. It's a large, well organized store with friendly staff.

    I would find it surprising if anyone thinks the Cambridge one is the best. It's tiny - maybe half the size, if even that, of most Whole Foods I've visited and quite lacking. It's good in a pinch if you really need something from WF and you're in the area, but I can't see how anyone does regular shopping there.

    6 Replies
    1. re: kobuta

      Probably talking about the one in Cambridge at Fresh Pond.

      1. re: rknrll

        Or possibly the one in Cambridge at River Street...

        1. re: Allstonian

          or the really small one on Prospect St. in Cambridge.

          1. re: Madrid

            This is the one I was thinking of...but good point. I didn't realize Cambridge was so flush with WF!

      2. re: kobuta

        I prefer the Woburn WF precisely because of it's small size. I don't usually do 'regular' shopping at WF. I'm usually there because I need a small number of specific items that are worth the price/special trip at WF.

        For that reason, the Woburn WF is great. I can easily park, get the 5-10 things I need, and get out quickly, usually without any lines at the checkout.

        1. re: rshock

          I am completely opposite from you. We live 10 min from WobWF but Woburn is woefully unstocked of too many items on our WF shopping list. And FrPond carries every single one of those items. I was always told that FrPond is their flagship store in MA. I think it is also their highest grossing MA store. Produce, seafood counter , baking needs,bulk goods, frozen and bakery are all superior at FrP over Woburn.

        1. re: eastofthemississippi

          I go to Symphony more than the others because its the one closest to where I live. Compared to Dedham, Hingham, River St in Cambridge, it's about 1/3 the size and has a much smaller selection. I like Dedham and Hingham the best. The worst one is Jamaica Plain. The food on the hot table seems to always look like its been sitting there and is dried out and several of the bins in their bread dept are always empty.

          1. re: eastofthemississippi

            Funny, I find the Symphony one to be among the worst. Most limited in terms of meat selection, and I feel like the rest of the store caters to students (prepared and frozen foods galore, snacks).

            There are things that draw me to the Beacon Hill, Fresh Pond, and River Street locations. I generally default to Beacon Hill one, because of proximity.

            1. re: eastofthemississippi

              The Symphony one is by far, objectively, the worst Whole Foods in the entire area. What are you talking about?

            2. The one in Hingham. It’s large but well laid out. The folks at the fish, meat and cheese counters are friendly and knowledgeable. They have a large selection of unique products, both their own and made locally. The service manager will get you almost anything special ordered (turkey gravy in the off season for example). The cashiers are exceptionally polite so I assume they are being trained properly. It is extremely clean-from the dining area to the rest rooms. Have yet to have a “bad” experience

              I have been to most of the WF in the great Boston area but I shop most often at the one in Hingham as it’s the closest therefore my opinion may be biased.

              1. There are at least 3 Whole Foods in Cambridge. I assume you're talking Fresh Pond?

                I'm hoping the new Beacon St. WF enters into this conversation. Looks like it's getting close to opening.

                10 Replies
                1. re: mkfisher

                  I would think that size-wise, it would be more on par with the Prospect St location?

                  My vote is for the Fresh Pond one but I haven't been to any of the suburban locations.

                  1. re: LeoLioness

                    Is that old Johnny's space really as small as Prospect St?

                    1. re: mkfisher

                      No, but its size is much closer to that than to the other WF locations in Cambridge.

                  2. re: mkfisher

                    Honestly, I prefer the River Street WF to the one in Fresh Pond. Partially due to the much smaller crowds but I do think it's better in general.

                    1. re: addiez

                      You clearly don't shop at River Street on Sunday afternoons.

                      1. re: mkfisher

                        I like the store itself, but so many of the shoppers at the Fresh Pond store are almost like a WF parody. I once saw a woman prompt her toddler to ask an employee where the organic rainbow chard was.

                        1. re: LeoLioness

                          I, too, shop at the Fresh Pond WF. It's on my way to and from work, they stand by their food, and the service is good. But I agree with your comment about the customers. I once went to an exhibit in London about food rationing during World War II which said that you had to register for coupons at your local grocery. I could only imagine the ladies of West Cambridge hightailing it to WF in their Volvo station wagons to make sure they got on their list.

                        2. re: mkfisher

                          That's when I go! I still think it's better than Fresh Pond. I might be comparing rush hour Fresh Pond to weekend River Street, but I still think RS wins. If you disagree, perhaps it's time to return to the FP store.

                      2. re: mkfisher

                        We popped into the new Beacon St. Whole Foods yesterday. The parking lot was a much more enjoyable experience compared to Prospect St. and River St. Other than that, I was underwhelmed. Didn't love the layout. There's also no butcher counter. Everything is packed in the freezer and you have to hit this random for service if you need something that's not there. The produce section was also extra narrow and congested which was made worse by the lack of those short two level carts they have at the two Cambridge stores.

                      3. Fresh Pond is the best of the ones I go to often enough to have an opinion on. I buy my coffee at the Woburn one, usually, and am happy with it but am not a coffee snob so I'm not sure it's any better/worse than elsewhere. Besides, if I were a snob, there are multiple independent funky roasters near me. :) Have had multiple bad experiences with the in-house bakery and prepared foods of the Medford one, and the selection there is mediocre at best.

                        The old Wellesley one, despite being tiny, always seemed to have a fantastic selection; hopefully the new one is just as good but I've only been in it once since the move and was rushing in/out with a specific shopping list.