Helm Oyster Bar + Bistro

4.7
99 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 full 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 99 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
4.8
food
4.8
service
4.6
ambience
4.2
value
Noise · Quiet
98% of people would recommend it to a friend
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K
Keith
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined 21 hours ago
Overall4food3service4ambience4

This place had a nice atmosphere, but the menu is super small and pretty pricey. I'd recommend just grabbing some oysters (good selection) and a drink or two.

EG
ElizaG
New England
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food, service and atmosphere.

CM
vipChrisM
Philadelphia
3 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall1food1service3ambience2

Disappointed in the menu selections, perhaps a good raw bar? No vegetables, mixed green salad had a large amount of parsley and basil (not advertised). Seafood entrees only ok. Quite disappointing considering reviews.

AM
AMYG
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Had a wonderful meal/experience at Helm earlier this week! Food was fresh as can be, seafood pristine, everything was well prepared and delicious. Great service. Would return in a heartbeat- highly recommend. And the noise level was so peaceful but lively! Perfect!

C
Copperlobster
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Awesome!!!!!

AD
AndraeaD
Philadelphia
8 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

What a great place for a nice upscale but affordable dinner. Everything from the appetizer to the salad to the main entree was delicious. Service was spot on and the restaurant itself was stylish and well designed. I would come back and dine here again without hesitation.

B
Bburgholly
New Orleans
4 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Fantastic and uniquely prepared food. Staff is attentive and informed about the menu. And cocktails interesting and delish too.

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
New England
100 reviews
Dined on July 22, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Wonderful service and exquisite food! Small menu, but everything we had was well executed. We will continue to come back and refer people to this new Portland gem.

H
Hannah
1 review
Dined on July 21, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Gorgeous setting, dining room is just the right size to feel intimate but amongst community. Servers were knowledgeable and friendly and food was excellent. Would absolutely recommend the petite plateaux (a little of everything!) and the johnny cakes (heavenly).

M
vipMary
San Francisco
102 reviews
Dined on July 21, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent food. Small menu and expensive but oh my. The quality was amazing. Oysters , Hake and Jonah Crab. Wow!!!!! Lots of locals there

JF
vipJoseF
New York Area
1 review
Dined on July 21, 2021
Overall5food5service4ambience4

A small but sophisticated menu. The food is terrific. Well worth a visit, whether you live in town or are visiting.

EC
vipEdwardC
New York Area
45 reviews
Dined on July 18, 2021
Overall3food5service4ambience3

It’s a bit off the beaten path- it has a classy ambience, hip but upscale. The menu is very limited- we had great oysters and the Hake was delicious. The only complaint is the pricing more Mid-town Manhattan than Portland- even bread was $5 extra but overall a good dining experience.

T
Tlp2021
New England
4 reviews
Dined on July 18, 2021
Overall4food4service4ambience4

My husband and I haven't been to Portland in 3 years such a great restaurant city! When we were looking for a place to go several choices were already booked so we ended up at Helm. The wine list was great out waiter made great suggestions for us. The food was well prepared and delish ! However be aware there were only 3 entrees on the menu. That was a little disappointing.

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on July 16, 2021
Overall3food4service4ambience3

Started w a weak and flavorless margarita. Ordered the scallop appetizer…it was barely a forkful…more like an amuse-bouche. We ordered bread for the table (not on the menu) and they charged $5 for it. Bluefin tuna tartare was delicious. Left hungry…way too expensive for the amount of food you get. Not returning.

1
128lawyer
New England
5 reviews
Dined on July 16, 2021
Overall5food5service4ambience5

While the menu is limited, not surprising for a new restaurant, everything we had was terrific.

j
jpish
New York Area
5 reviews
Dined on July 16, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food great service awesome spot highly recommended

OT
OpenTable Diner
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on July 16, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Clean modern dining atmosphere with outstanding food!

CJ
CharlotteJack
Charlotte
20 reviews
Dined on July 15, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Overall great experience. Exceptional flavor profiles. Perfect Oysters and the Caviar Service was a treat. Outstanding service. Will dine again.

JP
vipJayP
New York Area
19 reviews
Dined on July 11, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Really Amazing ! We will be back !

M
Mario
New York Area
7 reviews
Dined on July 11, 2021
Overall4food5service5ambience5

Great meal and great service. This was the best duck meal ever. Also the mussels were so good!

GB
GwenB
New York Area
1 review
Dined on July 11, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Outstanding food and service. While the menu is limited every item is creative, fresh and local. The Johnny Cake with trout roe and chocolate olive oil cake are 2 MUST items for our next visit.

SM
StephanieM
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on July 10, 2021
Overall4food3service5ambience4

Nice atmosphere, lovely server. Food was just mediocre. Overpriced. Will not recommend.

S
vipSamadams
New England
6 reviews
Dined on July 10, 2021
Overall4food5service5ambience5

Helm is terrific addition to the Portland restaurant scene. Exudes a very inviting ambience. We sat at the bar and found the bartender very knowledgable. Plus his service was second to none. The raw bar menu is the primary attraction. I wish there were more choices on the rest of the menu. The entrees and starters are compact which makes sharing somewhat comical.
Don't overlook the snap pea side.............amazing taste!

EL
vipELlen
New England
8 reviews
Dined on July 10, 2021
Overall4food5service5ambience4

Everything was absolutely delicious! Cooked perfectly and the sauces were light but full of flavor. Somewhat pricey and there is a charge for bread for the table, but worth it.

OT
OpenTable Diner
New England
1 review
Dined on July 9, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Everything we ordered was amazing. The oysters were top notch, shrimp from the raw bar unbelievable, the Johnny cakes and tuna were absolutely delicious. 10/10 would recommend

OT
OpenTable Diner
Richmond
2 reviews
Dined on July 9, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Delicious, creative food, excellent service, pleasant atmosphere.

OT
OpenTable Diner
New York Area
1 review
Dined on July 8, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The Johnny Cakes were great!

P
vipPortlandeater
New England
10 reviews
Dined on July 7, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food and wine! Beautiful space.

L
vipvickyL
New York Area
36 reviews
Dined on July 7, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience4

It was all most delicious and won't affect my rating. The feta in the cucumber salad is way too salty, but it was still delicious.

CR
CalvinR
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on July 4, 2021
Overall4food5service5ambience5

Good experiences First time at the restaurant.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Vancouver
2 reviews
Dined on July 4, 2021
Overall3food3service1ambience2

I will not be returning to this restaurant. Service here is really lacking. The guy with the wavy long hair st the bar is extremely inattentive & indifferent. The food is average at best. The atmosphere is eerily quiet. And the restaurant also has the nerve to add on an additional 3% required service fee — on top of your tip!! — because they feel like their workers aren’t being paid enough money, and it’s apparently the customer’s fault! Hey, there’s a solution for that: pay your workers more money. That action doesn’t require any surcharges or public lectures to your customers on how it’s our fault that your waiters don’t make more money.

AG
AlexG
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on July 4, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Gunner took care of us. Great drinks, imaginative, fresh food. A perfect early start to the evening.

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
Phoenix
3 reviews
Dined on July 3, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Literally a last minute reservation on July 3 .. what a pleasant surprise.. small but interesting menu.food was outstanding .. service same .. will definitely be back

DB
DavidB
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on July 2, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Good service. What is “standard seating” mean on your website. We were told upon arrival that parties of 2 had to sit at bar, yet there were parties of 2 seated at tables while we were there. Needs clarification. Love Point oysters are the best.

JN
JasoninNH
Hong Kong
7 reviews
Dined on July 1, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Very delightful environment coupled with good service and great food. Presentation of food is very good. Price is on a bit high side but the experience is worth it. This place does not have a sign outside so it is a bit hard to find.

SP
SunnyP
1 review
Dined on June 30, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent experience, delicious food and FANTASTIC wine list! We ordered a variety of oysters, Johnny cakes and the duck. All amazing!

k
kirsten
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on June 27, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Great food and great bar /cocktails

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

If I end up on death row, the Helm’s duck will be my last meal. The baby lettuce salad was great, loved the mint, felt it may have been slightly over priced for what it was. We ordered two of each oyster, despite the first being the best either of us had ever had, each one was somehow better than the last, and in good company with the radish mignonette. We ordered both the duck and halibut entrees to share, and while the halibut was an absolute delight on its own, the duck was clearly the star. The place is new, the atmosphere a little too bright, sterile in a slightly uncomfortable way, but once it comes into its own personality, with their chef, they’ll be unstoppable.

AS
vipAdamS
San Antonio
1 review
Dined on June 26, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

One of the best dining experiences in Portland. The duck confit was sublime.

OT
OpenTable Diner
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on June 26, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Amazing food! Very innovative dishes with fresh local ingredients. Staff was very helpful and attentive as well.

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 99 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.