The 10 Best Things I Ate in 2012

Categories: Top Lists

©Michael McNamara Photography
As 2012 comes to a close, it's time to look back on some of the most all-around stellar meals I had the pleasure of consuming in the Valley.

See also: - 9 Best New Restaurants of 2012 in Greater Phoenix
- 10 (Okay, 11) Best First Tastes of 2012 in Greater Phoenix

From the fancy to the more familiar, here are 10 my most memorable bites of 2012.

- Sushi from ShinBay

There are Japanese restaurants all over the Valley, but once you've dined at this 2012 James Beard Award semifinalist in Scottsdale, helmed by chef Shinji Kurita, you've reached the top of the mountain. Kurita's omakase, or chef's choice dinners, are nothing short of elegant works of art, meticulously prepared, and made with fresh, seasonal delicacies. And its final selection before dessert, the sushi, is especially impressive. The wild-caught fish hailing mostly from Japan and features the most delicate flavor. It's an indulgence worth every cent.

Laura Hahnefeld
Ravioli from Dolce Vita Italian Grocer

With a penchant for top-notch ingredients and a way of turning the simple into the sublime, it's no wonder the ravioli from this new Italian grocery and deli in east Mesa is so exceptional. Courtesy of Walter and Marti Bergamaschi, owners of the adjoining Gelato Dolce Vita, the scratch-made ravioli is lusciously soft and may be filled with anything from ricotta and spinach drizzled in a silky butter and sage sauce, to heady garlic and butter, to seasonal butternut squash. Delicious.

Laura Hahnefeld
Haemul Soon Du Bu at Café Ga Hyang

Fantastic Korean food that stays up late makes this gem in Glendale an anomaly. But no matter what time of day, the haemul soon du bu, a hot and spicy Korean stew made with seafood, vegetables, and silky pieces of tofu, is always a pleaser. It is an angry dish at first - arriving at the table steaming, boiling, and cooking the jiggling raw egg cracked on top of it. However, after it cools and the rice is added, which, like the tofu, soaks up the broth and cuts the heat, it's a deeply flavorful dish that makes its eater very happy, indeed.

Location Info


7001 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Dolce Vita Italian Grocer

5251 E. Brown Rd, Mesa, AZ

Category: General

Café Ga Hyang

4362 W. Olive Ave., Glendale, AZ

Category: Restaurant

The House

6936 E. Main St., Scottsdale, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Old Dixie's Southern Kitchen

924 E. Roosevelt St., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

New Hong Kong Restaurant

2328 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Davanti Enoteca - CLOSED

6316 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Hue Gourmet

66 S. Dobson Road, Mesa, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Crepe Bar

7520 S. Rural Road, Tempe, AZ

Category: Restaurant


3603 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

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My Voice Nation Help

I am always looking for new places to eat. Thanks for recommending some one picture at a time!

Helen Yung
Helen Yung

Btw, had the Walnut Shrimp last night - something I would not usually order and only because my friend craved it - large plump shrimp beautifully fried with a light crunchy batter and sauce that was not too thick or sweet. Delicious!

Chow Bella
Chow Bella

Thank you, Helen -- much appreciated!

Helen Yung
Helen Yung

What a diverse list! I love all ten of these places. Was just in New HK last night. They said they've never been so busy - probably thanks to you!

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