Headwaters

4.3
1116 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 1116 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
4.3
food
4.3
service
4.3
ambience
4.0
value
Noise · Moderate
82% of people would recommend it to a friend
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E
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
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 7 days ago
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
5 reviews
Dined on August 9, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 2

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

PP
Minneapolis
20 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

OT
Portland
2 reviews
Dined on July 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My fiancé and I had an amazing time at Headwaters! I had the king salmon and he ordered the scallops. We ordered focaccia bread for an appetizer and we couldn’t get enough. Our server was very knowledgeable and attentive. We attended the opera next door right after. It was a perfect evening!

OT
Seattle
1 review
Dined on July 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderful food and service as usual!

S
Portland
4 reviews
Dined on July 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Great service and food

p
Seattle
1 review
Dined on July 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I love going to Headwaters. It's one of my favorite restaurants to go to with my beloved, and so it's a frequent stop for our nights out on the town. I especially like their fish board and spreads. Amazing!

OT
Portland
1 review
Dined on June 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food is excellent, especially the crab cakes! This restaurant is probably a little more expensive than represented on Openable.

KW
Portland
11 reviews
Dined on June 28, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

I took my husband there for his birthday. The hostess staff was very friendly when we arrived, the waiter was less so. The crab cakes appetizer was excellent, we both had salmon which was cooked perfectly but lacked flavor to me, the snow peas side dish was excellent and the cherry upside down cake was delicious. They did comp us dessert and two glasses of champagne for his birthday. We've eaten at Headwaters several times and really love it, I was just a little disappointed in the entree this time and the service from our waiter.

TJ
Cincinnati
66 reviews
Dined on June 24, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

We were vacationing in Portland and chose Headwaters for our last night dining option. Nice choice. Relaxing atmosphere...excellent service...and fabulous food. Started with their smoked fish appetizer. Unique and fantastic. Our entree choices were their Branzino and Halibut. Halibut was overly salted, but still pretty good. Branzino will come out with the head unless you specify otherwise. We chose to have it prepared in the kitchen versus table side. We paired our meal with a local bottle of Pinot. Overall a wonderful experience.

GA
1 review
Dined on June 22, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

Overpriced. Seriously, a "wellness" tax ?! Slow service on a non busy night.

S
Charlotte
10 reviews
Dined on June 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

Great server and great food. Wonderful surprise in Portland. Had tried to get in several other more well-known places but could not have been happier with our choice. Oyster sampler was outstanding as was salmon belly tartare. Ahi poke and salmon entree also fantastic. Nice wine list too.

K
Washington DC
16 reviews
Dined on June 22, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

Beautifully prepared seafood
The dining experience at Headwaters was excellent. The seafood was very fresh and the preparation quite delicate. For example, my husband had the halibut which was complemented by some french lentils seasoned with red pepper slices. Great textural contrast to light seared halibut. Excellent. I had the crab cakes which were sitting on top of curried carrot sauce. Very complementary. Only minor disappointment was the lack of anchovies on my ceasar salad. Otherwise a very enjoyable dinner.

s
Portland
64 reviews
Dined on June 22, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 4

Have enjoyed all of the “Paley” restaurants...not so much this one.
Our server was extremely inattentive...we ran out of the warm water (the place obviously doesn’t believe in ice water) that they serve and we weren’t asked if we wanted second cocktails until we had finished our meals.
We had the scallops, paella (which was highly recommended by staff), and the cauliflower. The cauliflower was the highlight of the meal. The paella was flavored rice with seafood in a paella pan....not authentic. The scallops were bland...we make better ones at home.
Apparently the place is known for a good happy hour that serves very inexpensive oysters if that interests you.
We won’t be heading back anytime soon.

H
2 reviews
Dined on June 19, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 4ambience 2

Overpriced and too noisy to have a good conversation. Side dishes and even the bread was an extra charge. It is a good place for happy hour but we won’t eat dinner there again.

KT
1 review
Dined on June 17, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The perfect place for a business lunch. Fast service and quiet enough to talk.

j
Portland
1 review
Dined on June 16, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

I really wanted bread with the meal, and it should have been included at those high prices.

s
Seattle
9 reviews
Dined on June 16, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 5

Our server had very limited knowledge on the 4 types of oysters for the day, when we asked how the other three compares to fanny bay.

I told them there's a piece of hair on my plate when the server cleared the plates for us. just saying "I am sorry" without eye contact, i don't think that's a sincere apology.

I was recommended by my local friends to try this restaurant but it was quite disappointed.

C
Portland
2 reviews
Dined on June 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

I am a fan of Paley since the days of Paley's Place on NW 21st. Headwaters continues the "mouth-punch" flavor experience that I look forward to. Scallops and halibut dishes were exceptional.

DS
Portland
1 review
Dined on June 15, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 4

Most of the dishes we ordered were very tasty, but the side vegetables we ordered were forgotten and came after we were almost finished eating, which was disappointing and only one of the three were anything to write home about.

MB
1 review
Dined on June 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great service and our breakfast was delicious! Will definitely return!

F
Portland
14 reviews
Dined on June 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Dinner before the Ballet. Good service, great food. Not very busy and it should be.

OT
Portland
6 reviews
Dined on June 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Everyone really enjoyed their breakfasts. Prices are a bit on the high end, but the service and ambiance makes it worthwhile.

LM
Portland
2 reviews
Dined on June 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food and very good service. It is so convenient to performing arts centers, a great place for brunch.

P
Portland
24 reviews
Dined on June 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The birthday celebration was A+, beautiful cake, fantastic food, and service!

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