Headwaters

4.3
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1138 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 1138 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.3based on recent ratings
4.4
food
4.4
service
4.3
ambience
4.0
value
Noise · Moderate
84% of people would recommend it to a friend
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JE
Portland
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This was our first time visiting Headwaters. We have found a new favorite! From drinks before dinner to a return visit for dessert after a show, the service and food was superb. Attention to detail and customer service must be their mantra, as it showed in every way. We shared the Paella which was fabulous, and one of the chefs sent a serving of their sturgeon which was outstanding. They have an extensive wine list that included many local wineries which we appreciated. We can’t wait for our next visit.

r
Portland
13 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It was our first time eating at Headwaters. The service and food is everything we were expecting.

t
Seattle
32 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Excellent service and great menu for lunch---the noise level is appropriate for a conversation.

CW
Western NC
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

All around absolutely excellent. The staff here was incredibly accommodating and the vibe was lovely.

OT
Philadelphia
3 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 2food 1service 5ambience 4

Wait staff was excellent. Food marginal

OT
Portland
1 review
Dined on September 14, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 5

My wife and I went there for our anniversary. Check in was awkward because after we introduced ourselves, the receptionist took a phone call and was on the phone with another customer while we stood there awkwardly waiting for someone to help us. Dinner service was quite slow. Also, main dishes don’t come with sides. We had to separately order broccoli with our steak to add some greens to the meal, but then they forgot it, so then my wife had to sit there with a steak waiting for the broccoli to come. I guess I had much higher expectations for the service we would be getting, but frankly the service is much better over at Jake’s.

JJ
Philadelphia
30 reviews
Dined on September 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Excellent seafood selection.

MM
Hawaii
17 reviews
Dined on September 13, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

Smoked fish platter appetizer was superb. The King Salmon entrée served skin up was mediocre, skin was soggy instead of crisp.

LJ
Portland
1 review
Dined on September 13, 2019
Overall 3food 1service 5ambience 4

I was disappointed in the food at Headwaters, especially for the price. The crepes appetizer was More than charred, the ends were burnt. The charred broccoli was inedible and we sent it back, not something I usually do, but the char taste was "off"...not sure what...and the fish and chips were doughy, not cooked all the way. I think we arrived too early for the deep fryer to be hot enough to thoroughly cook the batter. On a good note, our server Zoe was amazing, she took everything in stride and recommended great wine.

j
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on September 10, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 5

food was great
Main course served 5 minutes before we had to leave for theatre

P
Philadelphia
8 reviews
Dined on September 7, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 4

Did not enjoy the sweet sauce on the salmon. Too many dates in the salad. The "crispy cauliflower" was so deeply fried it tasted like a zeppoli.

JB
Portland
8 reviews
Dined on September 6, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 2

The food we had was very good, the wine list is interesting and fairly priced - but the room is too crowded/tables for two are too small for the glasses and service pieces. The tables are too close together and people were moving around trying to get enough space to themselves to have a private meal/conversation. Our server was alternately indifferent then seemingly intent on up-selling me on each course. So, this is a mixed review; the menu is interesting and adequate, our food that we ordered (especially the Octopus app) was quite good, but the ambience and service was lacking.

J
Seattle
15 reviews
Dined on September 6, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Almost everything was absolutely perfect. Creative cocktails and ocean fresh seafood tower, and a waitress who let us dawdle and talk and enjoy. My two companions dinners were also spot on, and I’m glad for that. The scallops especially were lovely. My trout was tasteless. The sauce and veggies were great, but instead of the sweet, fresh, succulent trout I was expecting, the crispy skinned fish was as tasteless as cardboard. Not what I expected. Id come again, but order more carefully.

JS
Seattle
4 reviews
Dined on September 4, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 2

It was like dining in a warehouse. No ambience due to the cavernous room and lots of hard surfaces.
The food certainly did not live up to the owner's James Beard awardee's credentials. For example the salmon tartare was very oversalted and the crab cakes were pretty much tasteless and squashy. The menu in general was uninspiring. Very disappointing

OT
Atlanta
1 review
Dined on September 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing service. Food was amazing! Everyone enjoyed what they had. Cocktails were good as was the wine selection. Will definitely be back!

RC
1 review
Dined on September 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Absolutely the best restaurant experience ever! The food was incredible and the service was outstanding!

NW
1 review
Dined on August 31, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

We really enjoyed the Happy Hour menu and drinks were great. I ordered the Smoked Tomato Soup and Brocollini both were fantastic! The regular menu item my husband ordered - Sea Scallops with vegetables - was a small portion - 3 Scallops and a small amount of vegetables in a sauce underneath. Felt it needed rice or more veggies to make it a more filling meal for him.

KK
1 review
Dined on August 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

I had a lovely lunch with a friend. Everything was just great.

AD
New York Area
5 reviews
Dined on August 28, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Great seafood options cooked to perfection. I recommend the Octopus appetizer and the Pan Seared Halibut as your entree.

n
Portland
6 reviews
Dined on August 24, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 4

This is the second time I’ve been and almost did not come back because the first time the food was overly salty. The second time was exactly the same one dish almost inedible due to the salt. One of our orders was completely forgotten. It does happen but based on the cost it’s not worth a third try and would not recommend there are far more options in Portland.

G
Seattle
16 reviews
Dined on August 23, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 3

Excellent food. A little pricey, but good food and good preparation. Waiter's wine knowledge limited, but honest. The quality of the food makes up for an ordinary decor. Can handle a large number of people.

PS
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on August 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The crab cakes are amazing, as is the Heiress cocktail 😉
You really can’t go wrong with anything on their menu. Delicious for all meals of the day 😁

E
1 review
Dined on August 14, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

The scallops were great. Salmon was ok- somewhat bland.
But the service was unbeatable- thanks for a great evening guys!

MP
Washington DC
10 reviews
Dined on August 12, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

Good, but not great. Not the Heathman Hotel restaurant of old. Menu is not as extensive or as diverse. Food is well prepared but not exceptionally imaginative.

F
Portland
7 reviews
Dined on August 9, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 2

A lot of hype. Small portions. Crowded tables. Loud.

PP
Minneapolis
22 reviews
Dined on August 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Love the portion size not too large

KM
Portland
2 reviews
Dined on August 4, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

They were out of the first two fish choices we made, steelhead and salmon. Then the halibut we had was overcooked, very dry.
Waiter was confused about the price of the wine, woudl up being $75, not $60.
Overall, a very disappointing experience.

OT
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on August 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent restaurant with excellent food. It was a little on the pricy side given the moderate portion size.

w
Houston
7 reviews
Dined on August 2, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

I had high hopes for this restaurant as it had been recommended to us by a friend for our first
visit to Portland. The restaurant has a wonderful energy and bistro feel. Our waiter Aaron was
wonderful and knowledgeable about the menu. Unfortunately, this night the food quality was
sub par. It was as if the cooks had their feet on the accelerator; everything we ordered came out overdone. The baked oysters were burned, the crab cakes were charred and black on the outside.
Finally, the king salmon I ordered was overcooked and dry. Properly cooked salmon should be moist
and flake off on your fork. Fortunately, our waiter agreed with me and refused to charge for the
entree. Meanwhile the fish my wife ordered was fine though she did feel that is was smaller than
indicated on the menu.
The wine list was interesting in that the wines by the glass were significantly lacking in Oregon pinots
and chardonnays. All in all, this appears to be a fine restaurant that was just having a bad night.

S
Portland
9 reviews
Dined on August 2, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 3ambience 3

Appetizers were better than the main courses. Scallops were good, but Paella was just too salty. Probably will not return.

CD
Portland
13 reviews
Dined on July 27, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 2

Some dishes were really good such as the striped bass with salsa verde, but my husband's tuna tartare was grossly over salted. When we mentioned it to the waiter they did nothing. My tomato burrata salad with dates and toasted hazlenuts was very flavorful and just outstanding. I had albacore, topped with foie gras. The foie gras was cut so small you couldn't have tasted it and the fish was served in an oily brown mess of a sauce without any accompaniment to soak up some of the grease. The dessert, a raspberry crisp was very gummy in texture. The menu said the ice cream was vanilla but it came with some non descript nut ice cream that I didn't want or order. All in all i think the cooks could do a better job for the prices they are charging and pay more attention to detail. The waiter was really great though.

LM
Portland
13 reviews
Dined on July 27, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 5

We love the new decor (in the restaurant; the new hotel lobby is horrible).
Overall, we had a very nice time at Headwaters. Luckily, we got there early we had to ask "where are they?" for both rounds of drinks more than once.
The food is creative; here are some comments: (1) wedge salad needs some life; very fresh ditch the fried seaweed, it is unattractive I was tempted to order 2 more ( (3) my husband loved the soba noodle dish, AFTER adding copious amounts of S and -- 5 stars for those lovely prawns! Wow. (4) mushrooms a la plancha is the best thing on the menu; great collection of wilds, lovely romesco sauce; (5) patatas frites are addictive, even though the pimenton salt is a bit much (salt them a bit less (6) please have salt your staff were so busy (7) I understand the 3% wellness fee (and support it) -- but what is the $10 "service charge" for?
One more thing -- My husband uses a walker and doesn't navigate easily. All of your staff (and several of the guests) were very accommodating and kind to him. I can't tell you how much it means to us to still be able to go out and enjoy some of the finest things in our beloved Portland, just as we used to do.

OT
Portland
1 review
Dined on July 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always a great experience here. Came back for breakfast today. Delicious!

OT
Omaha
4 reviews
Dined on July 26, 2019
Overall 1food 2service 2ambience 3

It has gone down severely—there were not enough servers and it was not as premium as the prices on the menu would suggest.

G
Portland
22 reviews
Dined on July 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This dinner was fantastic. The halibut delicious and the crab cakes totally crabby! The cocktails were wonderful too!

L
Portland
15 reviews
Dined on July 20, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 3

We have had great experiences at headwater in the past we ate there and liked the food and also like the bar during the happy hour. But this was the second time I have noticed how the scent of fish hits you as soon as you walk in to a point that's too overwhelming. I had a friend with me visiting from San Fransisco so I was kind of disappointed in that and in the dishes we ordered that were too oily. We didn't say anything because the lovely lady who served us was wonderful. Hope there is something that can be done about odor control.

BH
Portland
1 review
Dined on July 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Service excellent, food all excellently prepared. Lovely space inside the classic Heathman Hotel.

m
Portland
5 reviews
Dined on July 18, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

We like to go to Headwaters before going to an event at The Schnitzer or Newmark Theaters because it is very convenient. Parking is also convenient. However, this time the food and service fell short of the mark. I ordered clam chowder and King Salmon. The chowder was thick, relatively tasteless, and the clams were rubbery and tough. The salmon ($36 ala carte) was cooked with maple syrup which dominated this expensive entree. It took over an hour to get our meal and the restaurant was not full by any means. I will have to think twice before going back.

M
Portland
7 reviews
Dined on July 13, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 1

This has always been a favorite of mine and my family's -- a place we tend to go for special occasions. But something has happened to the management here. A bevy of young women who seem a bit confused and who always try to seat us beside the kitchen where it's hot, crowded and noisy. But this time, I insisted on a different table and after much confusion and conversation among the hostesses, we finally got away from the kitchen. Then, cocktails were forever coming, although waitress was sweet and friendly.
But the food? Heaven help us. Terrible. Almost inedible. Green salad mushy and gooey and tasteless. Fried fish could have been from Denny's. Parker House rolls were not really Parker House. More like that Hawaiian sweet bread available at Safeway. Dinner was a very expensive disappointment.
Regrettably, Headwaters is off my list of favorites. What a loss to Portland's dining scene.

GS
Portland
7 reviews
Dined on July 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Headwater is usually the choice for a pre opera meal whenever the Newmark has a performance. The atmosphere has always been elegant the food excellent

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