Helm Oyster Bar + Bistro

4.7
178 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 178 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
4.6
ambience
4.2
value
Noise · Quiet
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OT
OpenTable Diner
Salt Lake City
2 reviews
Dined a day ago
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 a day ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

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

CP
CarloP
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall4food4service5ambience5

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

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
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
25 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!!

Report
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.

R
fromRoseville
Minneapolis
45 reviews
Dined on September 25, 2021
Overall3food3service3ambience4

First, I have to say that I was extremely disappointed that the servers were not wearing masks. To have indoor dining and not wear masks is disrespectful of the customers, who must remove masks to eat.

The food is interesting and complex, but I felt often the accompanying sauces overpowered "lighter" ingredients. This was particularly true of the scallop crudo, where the cucumber completely overtook the light flavor of scallops.

They have a large wine list, but the prices are really, really high.

Altogether an okay dinner, but I would not return.

JH
vipJameyH
E. Tennessee
14 reviews
Dined on September 25, 2021
Overall3food3service2ambience2

We were seated at the bar. The service was very inattentive. The food was prepared as depicted.

JB
vipJimB
New York Area
13 reviews
Dined on September 24, 2021
Overall4food5service4ambience5

Love the decor and lighting design. Great dinner date spot for a quite and stylish design and atmosphere.
Wish they would add to and change up the three main courses. There are only three and they haven’t changed for many months, would like to see five at a min. The raw bar items like oysters and scallops are fantastic, the Johnny cakes with row and Crème fraîche are to die for. Add a great bread service would also be nice - I do go here a fair amount and love it, these are just some suggestions to what is a great restaurant.

r
viprong
Minneapolis
7 reviews
Dined on September 22, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

It’s a little hard to find if you’re not from Portland but it’s well worth it. Great oysters. Everything we had was tasty.

SH
vipSusanH
Denver
6 reviews
Dined on September 22, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Our party of five ordered multiple items from the raw bar, starters, main plates and desserts and shared them. Each dish was so delicious and beautifully presented, the pace of the servings was perfect and the staff could not have been more attentive. This was an incredible dining experience and we would highly recommend The Helm.

OT
OpenTable Diner
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on September 19, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Very lovely ambience, with super fresh and delicious seafood. Portions are a little on the smaller side so it would be a bit expensive to eat a lot here, but everything tastes amazing!

DB
vipDBgf001
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on September 19, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Exceptional food and service.

R
Rarities
Las Vegas
4 reviews
Dined on September 18, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Fresh fresh fresh and creative .
Boquerones were a great surprise.
Escabeche of mussels were too.

JG
JackG
New England
11 reviews
Dined on September 18, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We drove up from Boston for the weekend. Our waiter Steven was just excellent, personable and very knowledgeable about advising local oysters and pairing our wines. The food was very fresh and of outstanding quality. A special mention goes to the red crab toast, tuna tartare and the boudin. Ambiance great as well, A+ overall.

KP
KristinaP
New England
4 reviews
Dined on September 17, 2021
Overall5food5service4ambience4

Excellent food and drinks! Some of the best food we've had.

TM
vipTomM
Charleston
49 reviews
Dined on September 17, 2021
Overall4food4service5ambience5

Everything we tried was excellent but the selection was a bit limited in that only three entrees were offered along with a selection of starters and raw bar selections. That said, the food was creative, the service impeccable and the oysters as fresh as you would ever hope to get.

a
vipalwaystravel
New England
10 reviews
Dined on September 17, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Limited, but very creative menu. I thoroughly enjoyed the shellfish sausage, which tasted like it was made from scallops. The sauce the vegetables and the potatoes we’re also excellent, As was the Apple and goat cheese salad.

EC
EricC
1 review
Dined on September 16, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Superb restaurant. Incredible addition to Portland’s food scene.

N
vipNavyman
Western NC
44 reviews
Dined on September 16, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Absolutely outstanding bistro. Best service I have experienced in quite a while. Being a party of two, we were seated at the bar which we actually prefer. The menu is limited, but everything we had was delicious. One of the best spots in Maine. Can’t wait to go back.

m
vipmikefer
Philadelphia
47 reviews
Dined on September 12, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Wow, very impressed. Was not expecting anything special but we were pleasantly surprised. The dining room is open and comfortable and feels Covid Safe. Prompt friendly service by staff. The Oysters were fresh from the water and served at perfect temperature. The Chef’s Sourdough bread course is a must if you love great fresh baked bread. The Mixed green salad was a special blend of greens with just the right tough of nuttiness. Excellent. The Bluefish entree was perfectly cooked with a wonderful sauce that complimented this meaty fish. The Duck was off the charts. Crispy, delicious and served with a fantastic blend of veg. Nice by the glass wine selection to go with a solid wine list. We had no room for dessert but our table neighbors had nothing but good things to say. Good spot, don’t miss it.

OT
OpenTable Diner
New England
9 reviews
Dined on September 11, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Great oysters and wine selection. Johnny cakes topped with roe were incredible. Not a huge menu but I came for oysters. Making this a starting point for my Portland nights.

FJ
vipFoodieJim
New England
23 reviews
Dined on September 11, 2021
Overall5food4service5ambience5

I went on Open Table looking for a reservation on a Saturday night with slim pickings available. Helm Oyster Bar and Bistro was all that came up for my time slot. I decided ‘what the hell I have no choice, let’s try something new’. What a pleasant surprise…. everything was superb! If you question why then I only gave 4 stars for food, it’s because I’m a foodie and I’m the Simon Cowell of judges. The appetizers were a tad saltier than I’d prefer. I’m brutally honest when it comes to my opinion of restaurants and bars as they are my joy in life. Anyway this place should be a chosen destination as opposed to a last resort. Hopefully business picks up because that bar looked awfully inviting and I’d like to see them open later so that I could utilize it. I hadn’t tried the oysters though the woman sitting next to me said they were spectacular.

G
vipGryphon
Montreal
14 reviews
Dined on September 10, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Nice atmosphere. Great oysters and though menu is limited it is very well prepared.

C
Critic
San Diego
2 reviews
Dined on September 9, 2021
Overall4food4service3ambience4

Very good food, nicely presented with good interesting flavors/seasoning. Excellent wine list and by the glass selections. Server was friendly and took decent care of us but she wasn’t a pro, her style didn’t match the restaurant’s ambitions. And other little things like paper napkins and a bathroom in another part of the building shared with the cafe next door detracted from what could have been 5 stars. Not very busy at 7.30, seemed odd.

OT
OpenTable Diner
New York Area
1 review
Dined on September 5, 2021
Overall4food4service5ambience5

Good fresh contemporary seafood dishes and great service!

FAQs

Helm Oyster Bar + Bistro offers takeout which you can order by calling the restaurant at (207) 613-9918.

Helm Oyster Bar + Bistro is rated 4.7 stars by 178 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.