Best Publix (2006)

Plaza del Paraiso

The coolest-looking Publix is probably the one on West Avenue in South Beach. It's designed by architect Carlos Zapata and is a gleaming glass testimony to SoBe chic. The Publix in the Plaza del Paraiso strip mall is on the opposite end of the city, and makes a statement about Kendall. It's a generic, sprawling branch that might not look cool, but you can get anything you need here. And do we mean anything. This Publix combines features from some of the supermarket chain's rivals. The plant and flower section is extensive and also offers clay chimeras, ceramic pots, and decorative garden accessories. The bakery is stocked with a dazzling array of breads, pies, pastries, cakes, and frozen desserts. The wine department curves inside itself like a maze in a lush's dream, with departments organized by country of origin. Hard-to-find bottles can be had here, like Fetzer Gewurztraminer, which costs $14. This branch of Publix is beginning to venture into Wild Oats territory by offering a slowly expanding section of natural and organic meats, including pork, steak, chicken, and buffalo. It also boasts the largest Greenwise section of any Publix in the area -- fully stocked with vegetarian frozen foods, specialty pastas, and rice infused with flaxseed oil. The very same R.W. Knudsen and Lakewood organic juices that go for a pretty penny at Whole Foods sell for $3.75 here. The beer department is a must-visit. The selection rivals that of many liquor stores and offers a stunning variety of local and imported beers, ciders, and colorful girlie drinks.


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