I went to the Whole Foods yesterday in South Miami (I still say that location is NOT Gables) and I gotta say, I wasnt really too impressed.
Their veggie selection was adequate, but I dont think it was any better than Milams or Fresh Market. Maybe they have more "organic" (see also: absurdly expensive) produce, but thats about it. I did like the variety of mushrooms though.
The seafood selection sucked I thought. There were mussels and clams that were dead and sitting in the case, the "fresh tuna" looked previously frozen, and nothing really jumped out at me overall. One thing I did notice is that they must have customers that LOVE salmon because they had it prepared just about 15 different ways.
The meat case was decent, high priced (as expected) but decent. The chicken selection wasnt great though. They had a good deal on ribeyes, but the ribeyes looked disgusting and LOADED with fat/gristle. I know this is a characteristic of a ribeye, but it was far from "marbling". I liked the sausage selections, but Fresh Market has all of the same ones and they are less expensive (I never thought Id say FM is less expensive than anywhere else on earth). I tried the turkey andoullie and the veal/spinach/feta and both were pretty good. When it came time to buy a steak though, I settled on going with a more reasonably priced option at Milams.
The two areas I really liked at WF were the wine and cheese sections. The selection in the cheese section was unreal! I wasnt prepared for that kind of variety, so I basically sat there staring for about 15 minutes and then decided I needed a gameplan for the next visit. The wine selection was pretty sweet too. Lots of variety and I liked the layout. I wish they had a few more options in the $10-$15 range though. I also thought some of the wines were overpriced (Marques de Riscal 2002 is about $13.99 MAX and they had a 2004 at $18.99). Also in the wine/cheese section was an area with scoops where you could get all different kinds of salts and sugars. I thought this was kinda cool, but I cant imagine many people taking advantage of it. Then again, its not like salt/sugar goes bad.
I didnt really care for their prepared food section that much. It was pretty good, but I like the FM one better. The rest of the store was decent and they had all of the pantry items you'd expect. I also think FM's "snack bag" section is better. This is the area with all different kinds of nuts, sesame sticks, etc. Another thing I didnt like about the store was that, outside the prepped food sections, everything is seems really crammed.
Overall, it was cool to check out the new Whole Foods, but I wont be commuting from the Grove to shop there unless I have a recipe that calls for something rare that I know they are likely to carry. I guess its a nice option for that neighborhood since they carry a lot of different items than Publix or Gardners do too. This could explain why some people in that area are acting like its God's gift to grocery shopping haha.