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Our main dining room and dining counter - Helm Oyster Bar + Bistro, Portland, ME

Helm Oyster Bar + Bistro

4.6
4.6
320 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 Executive 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.

Make a reservation

2 people

7:00 PM


Booked 11 times today

Order delivery or takeout

Other options

  • Order online

Additional information

  • Dining style

    Casual Elegant

  • Cuisines

    Seafood, Oyster Bar, Bistro

  • Hours of operation

    Dinner Wed–Sun 4:30 pm–9:00 pm Happy Hour Wed, Thu, Sun 4:30 pm–6:00 pm

  • Phone number

    (207) 613-9918

  • Payment options

    AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

  • Dress code

    Business Casual

  • Executive chef

    Billy Hager

  • Private party facilities

    The private dining room is available for intimate events like birthday parties, anniversaries, or a business lunch. The main dining room is available for partial or full buy-outs for larger parties. Please call or email info@helmportland.com for more information.

  • Neighborhood

    Portland

  • Cross street

    WEX Building Commercial Street Extension

  • Parking details

    There is ample street parking on Thames Street after 6pm. Parking is free along our patio's curb. Paid parking in city-owned lot.

  • Additional

    Banquet, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Cocktails, Full Bar, Gluten-free Options, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Private Room, Takeout, View, Wheelchair Access, Wine

Popular dishes

What 320 people are saying

Overall ratings and reviews

Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant

4.6
4.6 based on recent ratings
  • 4.7Food
  • 4.7Service
  • 4.6Ambience
  • 4.2Value

NoiseModerate

Loved For

  • Maine

    Seafood

Sort by

Filters

  1. L

    Lani

    New York Area

    9 reviews

    5.0

    9 reviews

    Dined 2 days ago

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    This place is special. Oysters were among the best I’ve had! Cheese plate was delicious.
  2. p

    pauloc

    Chicago

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on September 12, 2022

    overall5food4service5ambience5
    Returning for second time , everything was perfect .
  3. p

    pauloc

    Chicago

    3 reviews

    5.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on September 11, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Very nice place and outstanding food, we recommend
  4. JR

    JackR

    New England

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on September 10, 2022

    overall5food4service5ambience4
    Staff went lout of their way to serve us our unusual order with all the extras.
  5. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Detroit

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on September 3, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Wow! What an amazing experience! The service, the food the ambiance…everything was world class. Definitely glad I came.
  6. NJ

    NJBrit

    New York Area

    5 reviews

    3.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on September 2, 2022

    overall3food3service5ambience4
    This is really an oyster bar - somewhere with a choice of only 3 entrees can’t really refer to itself as a bistro. The oysters, johnnycakes and tartare were great, and the smoked monkfish entree was really good, but the hake and chickpeas entree was the dullest, most tedious entree I’ve ever eaten at a restaurant.
  7. RG

    RonG

    Las Vegas

    22 reviews

    5.0

    22 reviews

    Dined on September 1, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Fabulous food service and yummy wines
  8. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    New York Area

    1 review

    1.0

    1 review

    Dined on August 29, 2022

    overall1food1service1ambience2
    The waiter was rude and the menu pretty much had nothing. The food was okay that we got but could have been better. We also had a reservation but still had to wait a half hour to be seated . We were offered drinks that came one by one every ten minutes while we waited instead of altogether too
  9. p

    pdkaizer

    Baltimore

    12 reviews

    vip
    4.0

    12 reviews

    Dined on August 27, 2022

    overall4food5service4ambience4
    Amazing oysters and other delicious offerings.
  10. OP

    OldPortPesto

    Washington DC

    26 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    26 reviews

    Dined on August 27, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Seafood that sparkles! We had a refined and delicious dinner with friends at Helm and it exceeded our expectations. The Johnny Cakes are a delightful corn meal cake topped with roe that pops in your mouth balanced with salty rich butter sauce. The oysters were briny and perfect and the salads and entrees were perfect and seasonal. The personal care that goes into dining at Helm shows every step of the way.
  11. j

    joeyf

    New England

    15 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    15 reviews

    Dined on August 26, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Consistently outstanding. Locally sourced ingredients prepared with love, beautifully presented. Attentive and knowledgeable waitstaff. Sophisticated vibe. Johnny cakes to die for. Perfect for date night, couples.
  12. a

    andreak

    Los Angeles

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on August 25, 2022

    overall5food5service4ambience4
    We loved this restaurant - everything was excellent from the cocktails to seafood tower to duck confit. Had a great evening and would highly recommend.
  13. E

    Emily

    Tampa

    7 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    7 reviews

    Dined on August 22, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Excellent restaurant. Simple and great
  14. ST

    ScottT

    New England

    17 reviews

    5.0

    17 reviews

    Dined on August 19, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Excellent atmosphere and service. The seafood was very fresh, healthy, and had great culinary creativity. The dessert was excellent too. I highly recommend this place.
  15. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    New England

    170 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    170 reviews

    Dined on August 18, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience4
    Loved our meal at Helm Oyster bar. The oysters were wonderful as was the rest of the meal. The wines by the glass offering was great (although the pour could have been a little bigger).
  16. R

    Redhill

    New England

    25 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    25 reviews

    Dined on August 18, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Fantastic ambience and service. Food was excellent. Highly recommend.
  17. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Washington DC

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on August 17, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Food was AMAZING!!!
  18. p

    paul

    Minneapolis

    8 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    8 reviews

    Dined on August 17, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Amazing meal and cocktails! The vibe last night was perfect. Thank You Helm!
  19. JL

    JoanL

    New York Area

    9 reviews

    5.0

    9 reviews

    Dined on August 14, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience4
    The Helm does a really good job with oysters—lots of restaurants in Portland serve oysters but most of them don’t shuck them properly. We enjoyed two delicious seasonal salads and the main courses of hake and duck confit were also wonderful. The food is inventive and distinctive without being overwrought. It all makes sense.
  20. a

    andreac

    New York Area

    6 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    6 reviews

    Dined on August 14, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    We had such a fabulous meal at Helm that we returned the next evening too . Superb fresh oysters and excellent fish dishes . It’s worth saving room for the cheese board too. The staff were attentive and entertaining . Bo mixes a great cocktail 😀
  21. a

    aimlesslady

    New England

    14 reviews

    4.0

    14 reviews

    Dined on August 10, 2022

    overall4food4service3ambience3
    The oysters were wonderful; loved the flavors of the small plates. Little slow on the service and had asked for all to be served together which didn't happen. Would return.
  22. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Toronto

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on August 7, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Absolutely incredible
  23. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    New England

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on August 6, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience4
    We sat at the bar on 8/6/22. The bartender had great suggestions with vast knowledge of the menu. He was very personable and we felt how passionate he was about his craft. The blue fin Crudo (bartender’s suggestion) is a must, one of the best dishes we’ve had in a long time. We noticed that the host went above and beyond as well clearing plates and checking on us during our meal. Highly recommend and will definitely come back!
  24. B

    Bethesdan4711

    Washington DC

    58 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    58 reviews

    Dined on August 6, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Had a delicious meal at Helm. The menu is small but inventive, featuring fresh local ingredients from farm & sea. Definitely worth a visit!
  25. SK

    SarahK

    New England

    32 reviews

    5.0

    32 reviews

    Dined on August 6, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    This was our second visit to Helm! We returned for the Brandade and Johnny Cakes, in addition to the super fresh oysters and excellent wine list. A standout from this visit was the kelp cocktail- very unique and tasty with seafood!
  26. s

    sonora

    Phoenix

    3 reviews

    5.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on August 6, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Wonderful dining experience enjoyed in advance of a sunset bay excursion. Service was fantastic as were the cocktails, oysters, salad and dessert!
  27. GM

    GillesM

    New England

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on August 5, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Creative cuisine. Fresh local produce. Excellent professionnel service
  28. FJ

    FoodieJim

    New England

    28 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    28 reviews

    Dined on August 5, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    I chose this place for my birthday as I’d been there a few times before and it was magnificent. It didn’t disappoint. It was all great as usual but a couple things stood out. The black bass tartare was a work of art. It was somehow layered with shaved ice. It’s difficult to describe but amazing. Also the mussels for $9 are probably the best deal for an appetizer anywhere in the city. They were cooked and chilled, served in a delicious vinegar of some sort. Anyway if you haven’t been, go.
  29. JB

    JenniferB

    New York Area

    17 reviews

    vip
    4.0

    17 reviews

    Dined on August 4, 2022

    overall4food3service5ambience4
    The food is close to being very good. The quality was outstanding, but there wasn’t enough taste to really consider the meal worth the price paid. The oysters were very fresh, but the mignonette wasn’t all that memorable. The tuna crudo was also super fresh but uninspiring. The tomato salad was very good, but tiny for the price. The service was excellent and the chocolate olive oil cake was better than expected. If this restaurant wants return business it will need to pay more attention to flavor than they do currently. And I’m not talking about salt.
  30. EU

    ElenaU

    New England

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on August 4, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Me and my friend had such a great time! I wanted to check out this place for a while, but I needed my right company 😄 everything was awesome, and totally worth it! Service was amazing, we were sitting at the bar and our bartender made sure to attend to us thoroughly. He explained us what we asked, offered advice and taste when I asked about wine, he made sure we never had to wait for our next drink. The food arrived timely and everything was super fresh and delicious. The house baked bread that came with caviar worth separate acknowledgement. Overall I really enjoyed my time at Helm. It was everything I hope it would be. Thank you.
  31. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    New England

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on July 31, 2022

    overall5food5service4ambience4
    Had some visit g family over. We reserved an early evening dinner. The menu is small but the options were spot on. The food was the right portions and very creative. Who knew you could get excited by a cucumber salad! Our dinner was enjoyable, a little pricey but very nice for special occasions.
  32. B

    williamB

    Minneapolis

    1 review

    3.0

    1 review

    Dined on July 30, 2022

    overall3food3service4ambience3
    I'll give Helm a top rating for the Oysters. However the entree selection was limited to 2 fish dishes. I had the Hake as the other dish was 'smoked' fish. The service was friendly and efficient.
  33. g

    ggal

    New England

    14 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    14 reviews

    Dined on July 30, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Everyone and every bite was fantastic ! Our favorite place to dine.
  34. RV

    RachaelV

    Philadelphia

    5 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on July 30, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    One of our favorite places in Portland! The food, drinks, and service are wonderful. Highly recommend the oysters and Johnny cakes!
  35. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    New England

    1 review

    2.0

    1 review

    Dined on July 29, 2022

    overall2food3service3ambience3
    The oysters were more expensive and not as good as other places in Portland. No draft beers. Kind of a sterile atmosphere. Just ok.
  36. B

    Becky

    Washington DC

    9 reviews

    5.0

    9 reviews

    Dined on July 28, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Helm Oyster is off the beaten path in Portland so few tourists which was nice. Food was delicious. Service was great. Ambiance was very perfect. Only off beat thing was that the Entree menu somewhat limited - only 3 entrees (2 fish and short ribs). We had the cucumber salad and pork terrine to start. Cucumber salad was the stand out very unique and fantastic with the ricotta. Entrees were the Hake and smoked monkfish which were lovely. Finished with a blueberry chocolate pie like confection that was great!
  37. c

    capeelizabeth

    New England

    6 reviews

    4.0

    6 reviews

    Dined on July 27, 2022

    overall4food4service4ambience3
    Next-level Portland, Maine seafood restaurant, Helm is enough off the beaten path (just barely) that a local can still get a reservation over the summer. The raw bar, in particular, is really good.
  38. JM

    JanM

    Louisville

    11 reviews

    vip
    2.0

    11 reviews

    Dined on July 24, 2022

    overall2food3service3ambience3
    There were only 3 items on the dinner menu with no specials. The oysters were very good but expensive. Wait staff was efficient Would like to have more varied choices
  39. S

    Shoey331

    New England

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on July 23, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    This venue has a coastal vibe, the staff is amazing, the food is delectable, and the drinks are fabulous! This was our first time here and we will definitely be coming back!
  40. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on July 22, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    We ate outside so I can’t respond knowledgeably about ambience or noise level. Very good waiter, fresh fish (raw bar).

Safety precautions

  • Cleaning & sanitizing

    • Surfaces sanitized between seatings
  • Screening

    • Sick staff prohibited in the workplace

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 4.6 stars by 320 OpenTable diners.

Yes, you can generally book this restaurant by choosing the date, time and party size on OpenTable.

Make a reservation

2 people

7:00 PM


Booked 11 times today

Order delivery or takeout

Other options

  • Order online
Google Map for Helm Oyster Bar + Bistro

60 Thames St., Portland, ME 04101-5074

Additional information

  • Cross street

    WEX Building Commercial Street Extension

  • Neighborhood

    Portland

  • Hours of operation

    Dinner Wed–Sun 4:30 pm–9:00 pm Happy Hour Wed, Thu, Sun 4:30 pm–6:00 pm

  • Cuisines

    Seafood, Oyster Bar, Bistro

  • Dining style

    Casual Elegant

  • Dress code

    Business Casual

  • Parking details

    There is ample street parking on Thames Street after 6pm. Parking is free along our patio's curb. Paid parking in city-owned lot.

  • Payment options

    AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

  • Executive chef

    Billy Hager

  • Additional

    Banquet, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Cocktails, Full Bar, Gluten-free Options, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Private Room, Takeout, View, Wheelchair Access, Wine

  • Phone number

    (207) 613-9918

  • Private party facilities

    The private dining room is available for intimate events like birthday parties, anniversaries, or a business lunch. The main dining room is available for partial or full buy-outs for larger parties. Please call or email info@helmportland.com for more information.

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