BEST KOREAN RESTAURANT - 2005
Takamatsu means "tall pines" in Japanese, which may be the reason this west-side eatery boasts a façade of blond plank wood. The use of Japanese for its moniker is a hint that the place has a killer sushi bar, and that'd be reason enough to dine there. But Takamatsu also offers the most reliable Korean barbecue in the Valley, with plenty of grills set into the tables, and steel chimneys overhead. It's a clean, pleasant place to eat, with speedy, efficient service, which may be the reason Korean celebs like golf wunderkind Michelle Wie reportedly stop by while they're in the PHX. On the walls are sports memorabilia, including a jersey from Chan Ho Park, formerly of the Los Angeles Dodgers and now of the San Diego Padres. You'll usually see plenty of Koreans and Korean Americans supping there -- always a good sign. And aside from the barbecue, the bibim bap served in a hot stone bowl, and panchan, a.k.a. "Korean tapas," are first-rate chow. When it comes to Korean grub, Takamatsu is a winner's bet.