Headwaters

4.4
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1203 Reviews
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$30 and under
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Northwest

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Headwaters is located in the historic Heathman Hotel in Downtown Portland. In fall of 2016 after a dramatic renovation, chef/owner Vitaly Paley, his longtime wife/partner Kimberly Paley opened the reimagined dining room at the Heathman Hotel, their fourth Portland restaurant. The property, which possesses a storied culinary history, was constructed in the early Twentieth Century and is a member of the National Historic Register. Chef Vitaly Paley will be the third James Beard Best Chef Northwest winner to take the helm of the Portland institution, a long running dining destination in the Pacific Northwest. So named for “the source”, Headwaters will showcase local ingredients from Oregon’s diverse bounty, from farm to sea. The soulful menu is an expression and collaboration between Vitaly Paley and Executive Chef Michael Campbell with Pacific Northwest flavors flowing throughout.
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What 1203 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.4based on recent ratings
4.4
food
4.3
service
4.3
ambience
4.0
value
Noise · Moderate
83% of people would recommend it to a friend
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SM
Portland
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall3food3service2ambience4

Loud
Slow
Table not ready
Wait staff forgot tuna poke
2 glasses of wine
A burger
Under cooked rib eye
A hundred dollars
Thanks but no thanks. From now on we’ll head to the Irish Pub on the corner .... great Shepard’s pie.

OT
Seattle
7 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

It was quite busy but the service was great. Our waitress was very knowledgeable about menu items. My husband has a severe citrus allergy which is always an adventure eating out. However, the waitress had the cooks check everything that he wanted to order and prepared it without citrus. That is not common at restaurants! When in Portland again, this would be our first choice for dinner out.

OT
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food was amazing. The spices and flavors were delicious. The service was outstanding and fast.

RB
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall3food3service3ambience2

I've gone to the Heathman since 1987. Spent a honeymoon night there 1987, went to high tea multiple times, several very special thanksgiving dinners, special stay overs. A friend I have met for our birthdays the past 5-6 Decembers. The last 2 times we have just not enjoyed it, no longer feels special. Feels sterile, staff is nice but the place, food and ambiance feel soul-less. We both felt the same way on Wed and we won't be back, started feeling this way last year but gave it another chance. Also I'm vegan and flex to vegetarian in order to eat out but the new menu left me with one meal choice of lentil soup and salad and I ate a couple of French fries. Was not special. Sorry to go but we don't seem to be your target audience anymore.

JR
Portland
2 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall4food5service4ambience4

One of the best restaurants in Portland with Gluten Free selections; almost the entire menu! The flavors pop in each dish. The side dishes look standard but are unusual and flavorful. The service team is attentive but never in the way of table conversation. My only wish is that the restaurant didn't have such a high noise level; at times it is almost impossible to carry on a table conversation.

MB
Portland
12 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I love Paleys Place and now I LOVE Headwaters. The best food ever. Can't wait to go back. I'll now start going there when I'm going to the theatre. Dinner and a show..... how great is that! Headwaters is fabulous. I can't say enough wonderful things about it. I LOVE IT. Interesting food choices. Unique cocktails. EVERYTHING IS INCREDIBLE.

MD
Portland
3 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall2food2service1ambience4

Very disappointed. We were a group of six so 20% gratuity was added. Not a problem except our server was completely unattentive to the point of rudeness. Our dinner took far longer than it should have because dishes weren't taken away, drink orders weren't taken, she didn't come back to ask about dessert, etc. The food was a mixed bag - some entrees were very good, but the fish was overcooked and some side dishes were cold. I've had great experiences at other Vitaly Paley restaurants so had high hopes for Headwaters. Will not return nor recommend to anyone.

RM
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Wanted to have dinner before seeing a show at the Schnitzer Concert Hall and chose Headwaters for convenience. Got there about 2 hours before the show and had enough time to enjoy a cocktail and dinner. Our server Bob was friendly and made sure we were happy the whole time. Food was excellent and portions large enough for my wife and I to share - herb bread, wedge salad, and salmon. Prices were a little high and tables are close together but would definitely go again if we see another concert at the Schnitzer.

OT
Los Angeles
11 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Food was impeccable. I sat at the bar and the service was great. Had a nice glass of Oregon Pinot noir. Each course of food I was blown away by and can’t wait to go back. Would highly recommend to anyone.

BS
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on November 30, 2019
Overall3food2service2ambience4

My wife ordered a drink and it supposedly went to the wrong table; she finally got it with dessert. She liked her entree, but mine was luke-warm and just passable. For a high end restaurant this was a huge let-down.

3
New York Area
14 reviews
Dined on November 30, 2019
Overall2food3service2ambience2

Paley's Place is one of my favorite Portland's restaurants, so I was interested to try Headwaters for a family birthday dinner. What a disappointment! Servers ignored us for nearly 30 minutes after we arrived, and though I requested no added salt several things were heavily salted. The food was OK, but really not great. The Dover sole was so hot it couldn't be eaten for 10 minutes. All in all it was OK but not we'll not go back.

AW
Miami
6 reviews
Dined on November 30, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Second time my wife and I have been to Headwaters. Food was outstanding again really like the atmosphere as it's connected to the Heathman hotel. We also stopped at the chocolate shop connected to the Heathman hotel which was outstanding as well. Really enjoy this restaurant, keep up the great work!

ES
Portland
1 review
Dined on November 28, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

kudos for that perfect thanksgiving dinner, what a perfect bite, size, color and incredible flavors that is worth not cooking at home ever again on thanksgiving.

PS
Seattle
1 review
Dined on November 28, 2019
Overall3food4service3ambience4

We went for Thanksgiving. Overpriced. Food was good. Bar service was good. Host was poor. Wait staff did not want to be there and it showed. Not impressed. Much better restaurant options in downtown Portland.

WA
Portland
3 reviews
Dined on November 28, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This was our first visit to Headwaters and we were pleased with everything! The holiday decor was up and the service was excellent. We ordered the grand seafood tower, wedge salads, pecan pie and cheesecake. The drinks (sweater weather, ginger soul) were perfect. We will definitely be back!

OT
Minneapolis
1 review
Dined on November 28, 2019
Overall3food5service4ambience3

Food was very expensive for the value. It was a nice experience, but overpriced.

LD
1 review
Dined on November 28, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience5

We ALWAYS love Headwaters, and our Thanksgiving dinner was no exception.

We did find the service to be not as good as usual, but, we certainly understood how busy everyone was due to the holiday, and appreciated that the wait staff were there, and happy to attend to those of us who decided to have dinner out.

This is one of my VERY FAVORITE restaurants, and I cherish it :-)

JK
Portland
5 reviews
Dined on November 28, 2019
Overall2food2service2ambience3

Worst. Thanksgiving. Meal. Ever.

NB
1 review
Dined on November 28, 2019
Overall3food3service5ambience3

The service was excellent. Prior to dinner I phoned twice trying to sort out whether I had main dining room reservations or buffet reservations. I received two different answers. The Parker House rolls were fabulous but we wished we had been given more butter. The food was good, the lasagna was odd looking.

WD
Hawaii
37 reviews
Dined on November 28, 2019
Overall3food4service3ambience3

Thanksgiving. The funny thing about dining out on Thanksgiving that you often receive either exceptional service from staff who want to make your holiday outing cheerful and special, or mediocre service or worse from disgruntled workers who are unhappy about having to work on Thanksgiving. 5+ stars for the gracious and cheerful host who greeted us and escorted to our table. Your cheerful disposition, cool bow tie, and attentiveness was appreciated. Thank you also for being literally the only employee whose attention we were able to get when your fellow coworkers looked right through us and ignored our efforts to call someone over to address an oversight. Headwaters is blessed to have a quality employee like you. We’d hire you in a heartbeat. Absolutely no stars to Daniel K. whom we specifically communicated and more importantly, reiterated that milk products could not be consumed and you still brought us a spread that was made with dairy milk. You seem so unhappy working Daniel. It’s even a struggle for you to engage with Headwaters patrons. Please find a job that you are happy with because life is too short to waste away in a profession that is unfulfilling. Headwaters deserve better, and you deserve a rewarding profession. The food quality at Headwaters is above average. Service needs to be more consistent.

GO
San Diego
5 reviews
Dined on November 27, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Thanksgiving-eve dinner gathering for friends and families!

MC
Portland
1 review
Dined on November 24, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Absolutely great! From greeter to waiter and everything inbetween. Had flat iron steak done to perfection and the crab cake on greens. Crab cake was enormous compared to most and 98 percent crab instead of filler. Entire meal was excellent.

GG
Hawaii
5 reviews
Dined on November 24, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

The food was great as was Brianna's service. We will return in the near future.

DC
Portland
9 reviews
Dined on November 23, 2019
Overall3food5service3ambience5

Price points a little high. A few Napa Valley wine choices in the red would be welcome

OT
Portland
1 review
Dined on November 21, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Was mother’s 62nd birthday. Was wonderful service. Very helpful with entrance since we had a wheelchair, and sat us not in a corner away from everyone like most people do. Food was absolutely fantastic. Server was so very nice and kind and very attentive. Desert was even better and it was priced moderately high for a bill+tip of 160$ but was WELL worth it.

D
Sacramento
10 reviews
Dined on November 20, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Wednesday nights are quiet.

RG
Seattle
66 reviews
Dined on November 20, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We had a great lunch with friends and were pleased with the quality of the meal and the service was excellent. Valet parking made things easy for us and we enjoyed the ambiance. We have now had brunch and lunch here so our next visit will be for dinner.

GG
Hawaii
5 reviews
Dined on November 17, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Both the meal and service were excellent with one exception. I requested an omelette made with smoked salmon rather than bacon as listed on the menu. Our waiter confirmed that would not be a problem but would require a small upcharge which was not a problem. I unfortunately received the bacon omelette instead. Our waiter was apologetic and mentioned that he would review with the kitchen. I did not have time to wait for a replacement as we were heading to the symphony. The bacon omelette was very good as was my wife's avocado toast. We will definitely return.

JM
1 review
Dined on November 16, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I have eaten here many times and the food is just wonderful. The access to Arlene Schnitzer Hall makes it ideal.

I
Seattle
18 reviews
Dined on November 16, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Bright and fairly quiet place with attentive staff and delicious food. They accommodated our special requests on menu items — avocado toast with a poached egg, and eggs Benedict served on the crab cakes without an English muffin and with a salad rather than potatoes — YUM!

K
Richmond
1 review
Dined on November 15, 2019
Overall3food5service2ambience4

Great food, horribly slow service. They were busy but we waited almost 20 mins for drinks. It didn’t get better from there. We weren’t in a hurry but entire meal took almost 3 hours.

a
1 review
Dined on November 13, 2019
Overall3food4service1ambience2

Out service was poor. The waiter was more interested in other table, we were a table of 5. The food was good, but overpriced. I had told them it was a birthday, but when out desert finally arrived there was no candle. When I mentioned it to the waiter, he said " I was not told".
We all decided we would not return to Headwaters.

o
Washington DC
17 reviews
Dined on November 12, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience3

Given the present controversy over the owner of the Heathman, the restaurant seemed remarkably empty. However, we think it is separately owned... Food is interesting, local, and delicious as always and the wait staff is lovely.

LJ
Portland
1 review
Dined on November 8, 2019
Overall3food2service5ambience4

The best part of our dining experience was the server, who was just about perfect in every way. The food was, sadly, disappointing. The sole, afaborite fish of mine, was just about flavorless swimming in milky soup. The crabcakes, while better than the sole, wete certainly nithing to erite home about. Very disappointing experience.

OT
Grand Rapids
7 reviews
Dined on November 3, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience5

The seafood tower was awesome! The halibut was cooked perfectly.

RT
Portland
14 reviews
Dined on November 2, 2019
Overall3food3service3ambience3

I was disappointed that all of the fish entrees come with the same accompaniment whether it was scallops, salmon or tuna. The night that we were there it was butternut squash puree with rice and pesto.
I ordered the halibut and it was very good, but could have used a more unusual side dish.
Our waiter was unfamiliar with the wine list, unfamiliar with the many things on the menu such as how things were prepared.
this is nothing like the sophistication of their original restaurant Paley's Place.

OT
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on November 2, 2019
Overall2food1service5ambience4

What had happened to the Headwaters? Used to be a reliable high quality food place with excellent service. Service is still perfect, but food became just horrible. Is there any quality control in place whatsoever? Roasted tuna had arrived charred and drenched in oil with bitter pieces of burnt garlic and herbs on the top. Scallops were seared mercilessly on a very hot pan resulting in thick, tough, dark-brown crust. And whatever is served as khatchapuri could not be further from the original thing. Sprinkling some cheese on the top of a flat bread does not make it a pizza. Huge disappointment.

m
Memphis
28 reviews
Dined on October 30, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Convenient location for late lunch after museum visits. Oysters were delicious. Great friendly service.

OT
Seattle
1 review
Dined on October 29, 2019
Overall3food3service1ambience4

The food was average. The curry fries were excellent. I love mussels and ordered the baked mussels and didn't care for it. It tasted like fishy stuffing. I also ordered sole for dinner. l love seafood and prefer to eat it in it's TRUE state wo it being drowned with cream, and all the extra fluff. The female server was patronizing and not friendly.

J
Palm Springs
156 reviews
Dined on October 27, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Always like this place whether at the oyster bar or in the dining room. Great menu for either sharing dishes or ordering for yourself. Lively atmosphere, sophisticated food, typically good and consistent service. One of my “go to” restaurants when I visit Portland.

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