Yesterday I went with my sister to Sur La Table to help her pick out a new chef's knife. She had a collection of old, not-very-good knives, and she wanted one great, versatile knife for all her major kitchen work.
There's no "best" knife out there, of course — the best knife for you will always depend on how it feels in your hands and how you want to use it. The salesperson at Sur La Table compared knife shopping, aptly, to finding a pair of jeans. The end result should fit you.
At the store, my sister worked her way through a collection of good brands of chef's knives — Wusthof, Zwilling, Global. Sur La Table is a great place to shop for a knife; they bring out potatoes and let you try each knife and chop away until you have a sense of how the knife works in your hand. She hefted each and did rough and fine chopping. The salesperson explained the difference between German knives (usually a little heavier, with broader, weightier blades) and Asian knives (thin and light, razor sharp). Both have their advantages and she liked handling both.
I have never quite loved Global knives; they're wicked sharp and rather whippy, but the lightness of the handle is too light for me. I like a little more weight to help me power through. But this new knife from Global feels more balanced to me, and my sister kept coming back to it too. The handle has a little more weight, and the top of the knife isn't so thin (Global knives can be so thin on top they give you blisters).
Ultimately, this is the knife that went home with her, and it's super sexy — a knife to really fall in love with.
Have you been knife shopping recently? How did you make your final decision?