Helm Oyster Bar + Bistro

4.7
199 Reviews
$31 to $50
Seafood
Helm Oyster Bar & Bistro is an ode to the coast and farmland offering an intimate dining room, bar, and seasonal outdoor patio across the street from Portland's Ocean Gateway. Our raw bar offers a selection of shellfish and seafood such as oysters, clams, and crudo. Expect a small bistro-style menu from our chef, Billy Hager, that changes frequently to reflect seasonal and locally-sourced availability. Our bar focuses on natural wines, rotating New England beers, and unique cocktails. Our dining room is open with dark wood and cozy corners.

Safety precautions

Cleaning & Sanitizing
  • Surfaces sanitized between seatings
Screening
  • Sick staff prohibited in the workplace
What 199 people are saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.7based on recent ratings
4.7
food
4.7
service
4.7
ambience
4.2
value
Noise · Moderate
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OT
OpenTable Diner
Minneapolis
3 reviews
Dined on November 21, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Truly Amazing Meal!!

RT
RTide
New England
4 reviews
Dined on November 20, 2021
Overall3food3service4ambience5

Beautiful space. Good service. Good place to go for bar/raw bar. Very limited, expensive menu otherwise. Prepared food was only OK.

V
Vertijoe
New England
5 reviews
Dined on November 20, 2021
Overall4food5service4ambience4

Our meal was excellent. Everything was fresh and tasted great. My wife and I were seated at the bar, which is our favorite place to sit. It is always a chance to engage with other dinners and the staff.

We shared all of our dishes, so it was a great way to try a lot of different dishes. Even though the restaurant is primarily a seafood place, the duck confit was a standout for me.

The restaurant is in new construction along the waterfront, so it does not have that old Portland charm. Which is fine, but the room feels a little stiff. And the staff seemed a little aloof. Maybe this is just dinning in a post Covid world.

GH
GeorgeH
New England
1 review
Dined on November 19, 2021
Overall4food5service4ambience5

Food great. Bartender could be a little friendlier. Service a little slow.

MB
MaineBionda
New England
1 review
Dined on November 18, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Enjoyed the Oyster selection, loved the hake dish and the wine list was great. Would be happy to go back soon. Our waiter was extremely knowledgeable, sensitive to our needs.

CJ
vipCJohnF
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on November 14, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I've been visiting Portland for nearly a month, and have tried the many fine restaurants in the city. Helm ranks among the very best. A veritable oasis of peace, friendly and knowledgeable service, and excellent fare, distinguished, in my opinion, by the baby lettuces salad, Jonah Crab in brioche roll, and the best duck confit I've ever tasted.

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
Minneapolis
4 reviews
Dined on November 12, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Another Amazing Meal! Thank You Helm!!!

TG
vipTommyG
New England
14 reviews
Dined on November 10, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great ambience in kind of a hidden away location. Interesting approach to the menu: well-stocked on appetizers and shellfish, then only three main dishes though they were excellent.

Wine list also leaves a bit to be desired, very short.

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
New England
2 reviews
Dined on November 6, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Amazing service and really delicious and unique seafood options.

AJ
AJayD
New England
1 review
Dined on November 6, 2021
Overall4food5service5ambience5

The service & cocktails were top-notch! Truly outstanding (wish I remembered the waiter's name, handsome fellow, bit of a beard, probably 6'2").

LM
vipLMER
New England
6 reviews
Dined on November 6, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Staff really helpful, meal well-paced, excellent food.

g
vipggal
New England
10 reviews
Dined on November 5, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The chef creates dishes that are delicious and unexpected! And Gunnar, behind the bar, is a magician as a mixologist!

CS
vipCateS
New England
1 review
Dined on November 5, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Amazing! Everything was perfect!

N
vipNope
New York Area
18 reviews
Dined on October 29, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great new-ish seafood spot. Not your typical menu. Very creative and delicious. Emphasis seems to be on smaller plates and appetizers (mixing a few would make a fine full meal) but the main courses were great. We were eyeing one of their gorgeous shellfish towers being shared on another table. Cocktails were divine and service was friendly and professional. Second time was as good as the first - maybe even better.

TJ
TonyJ
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on October 24, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We both had a great time. All 3 courses we had were excellent. The food was of high Manhattan standard which we hadn’t been expecting. Service was attentive and knowledgeable. Will go again when back in Maine!

L
vipvickyL
New York Area
37 reviews
Dined on October 23, 2021
Overall4food4service5ambience5

Half lobster was small, and Monkfish schnitzel was good but more coating than monkfish.

SH
ShawnH
New England
1 review
Dined on October 23, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Amazing food, from the starter to the meal and finishing with desserts that were not an afterthought. The hake in particular was ethereal.

L
vipLumenstein
Austin
42 reviews
Dined on October 22, 2021
Overall2food2service4ambience5

Selection was smaller than the published menu. The fish was like three day old sushi and didn’t taste that good. We weren’t the only ones who didn’t like our meal as the tables on either side had food issues as well. Maybe they had a really off night but wouldn’t eat here again.

NB
NatB
1 review
Dined on October 22, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great experience from beginning to end. We were visiting from New York and absolutely loved the food and service.

A
Annie
New England
9 reviews
Dined on October 22, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Oysters were fabulous and Caroline, our server, was a delight. She was very patient in describing the attributes of various oysters and cut through our confusion by recommending what we should order. And she got it right. The ambience is very nice, with lots of glass windows and good lighting. Noise level was okay.

BH
BethH
Salt Lake City
3 reviews
Dined on October 20, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Every bite was heavenly and the service was impeccable. Martinis were delicious and different! Loved eating here.

BP
BethP
New York Area
6 reviews
Dined on October 20, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Always…ALWAYS…a phenomenal meal, great cocktails, friendly staff. We love Helm!

CP
CarloP
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on October 16, 2021
Overall4food4service5ambience5

The duck was fantastic and the service was very good too.

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on October 15, 2021
Overall4food3service5ambience4

Food was great, but very expensive for the quality. Nothing blew me away except for the prices.

OT
OpenTable Diner
New England
2 reviews
Dined on October 10, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I made a reservation for a special gathering with my sister and her husband who were visiting the Portland area. We were all thrilled with our dining experience at Helm! The food was delicious and service was outstanding; our waitress guided us in our selections as we were new to oysters and the menu. The overall ambiance of the restaurant was comfortable yet chic. We were seated by a window at a table but all seating was carefully spaced out. We hope to-return another time and heartily recommend others to try this very special eating establishment.

W
Will
Philadelphia
23 reviews
Dined on October 10, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Oyster bar was excellent, sea food in general was wonderful. Service was top notch as well.

OT
OpenTable Diner
New England
1 review
Dined on October 10, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience4

The service was excellent and the food was incredible! I was surprised on how quick every thing came out once you placed your order. We had some oysters and also did a main dish.

PJ
PortlandJC
New England
2 reviews
Dined on October 10, 2021
Overall3food3service2ambience4

This restaurant experience began on a bad note. When we arrived we were shown to the bar, not a high-top in the bar area, they had the bar set for guests. I make many reservations on Open Table so I know how to look at seating options. It was not obvious that I was reserving a seat at the bar. When I objected, the hostess told me I was wrong. "I'm sorry for the confusion" would have been more appropriate. Nevertheless, she found us seats at one of the several unoccupied tables in the restaurant. Our waiter was fast and polite. The menu is extremely limited with only 3 main course options to choose from. The food was good but I expected more from such a highly rated establishment. I ordered the duck confit. The vegetables were as if they'd been soaked in butter before serving, it was quite rich. My companion was not aware that schnitzel is a breaded and fried preparation so thought he was ordering heart-healthy fish, only to find it very greasy and fried. The cheese plate from the dessert menu was nice, but again the fresh made bread crisps were very greasy. It really wasn't worth the expense, the hassle and the indigestion. I say skip this one!

WM
WilliamM
New York Area
8 reviews
Dined on October 9, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food, everything was incredible. Attentive service.

SC
SCKnapp
Baltimore
6 reviews
Dined on October 8, 2021
Overall5food5service4ambience5

The food was outstanding, well prepared and presented.

OD
vipOutdoorDiner
New York Area
27 reviews
Dined on October 8, 2021
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Very very good dinner in a lovely place.

KS
vipKirkS
Washington DC
13 reviews
Dined on October 7, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We had excellent service and a spectacular meal. The monk fish schnitzel was creative and delicious.

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on October 7, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Fell in love

MF
MaryF
Charleston
14 reviews
Dined on October 7, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Sooo Great! The server allowed us time to enjoy our experience! We had drinks, then got a mix of oysters on the 1/2 shell and then ordered MORE oysters on the 1/2 shell (they were that good). Then, we ordered and split the red romaine salad with goat cheese and pecans. It was so delish and ordered and split the monk fish. Everything was fabulous!!!! A hidden gem in a growing area with lots of construction. We would highly recommend. A 5 minute walk from the Hampton dt.

VC
VirgilC
New England
1 review
Dined on October 7, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Wonderful!!

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P
Piergourmet
New England
7 reviews
Dined on October 6, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This was one of the best dining experiences we've had in Portland. Super fresh chilled oysters, inventive cocktails, delicious starters and mains, and nicely paced service which was professional without being pretentious.

OT
OpenTable Diner
New England
1 review
Dined on September 26, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience3

Great spot still can get a table last minute.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Denver
1 review
Dined on September 26, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent oysters and exceptional wine list, great hospitality as well!

BC
vipBobC
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on September 26, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Outstanding seafood-focused restaurant recently opened in new building up the street from Old Port. Great cocktails and Wine list featuring reasonably priced French & Italian selections. Clean modern decor and large patio for outdoor dining. Best seafood cooked perfectly in fresh contemporary style. Desserts also fabulous.

MF
MarshalF
1 review
Dined on September 25, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Nice restaurant with a wonderful feel. The food was excellent. If you have a sound sensitively be aware that it was noisy for such a small space.

FAQs

You can order delivery directly from Helm Oyster Bar + Bistro using the Order Online button. Helm Oyster Bar + Bistro also offers takeout which you can order by calling the restaurant at (207) 613-9918.

Helm Oyster Bar + Bistro is rated 4.7 stars by 199 OpenTable diners.

Yes, you can generally book this restaurant by choosing the date, time and party size on OpenTable. Due to local restrictions, this restaurant may not be accepting reservations at the moment.