Restaurant Review: Dessert at Papa Haydn

This last Friday we went to see the movie Coraline and decided that we wanted to get some dessert somewhere after the movie. So we got out our fancy celiac-friendly restaurant list and called around until we found a place that was still open. We ended up going to Papa Haydn on NW 23rd.

At 10:00 PM this Friday night, Papa Haydn was busy enough that there was a 20 minute wait for a table, which is pretty amazing for sleepy Portland Oregon. I could be wrong, but it looks to me like their dinner menu is actually shorter than their dessert menu. On the dessert menu they have a lot of things that I can eat. I’m going to let their descriptions paint the picture. These are all gluten-free:

Boccone Dolce – Swiss meringues drizzled with semi-sweet chocolate, layered with fresh fruit and chantilly cream.
Raspberry Gateau – Fallen chocolate souffle topped by whole berries and red current glaze. Bordered with bittersweet chocolate ganache.
Chocolate Cube – Chocolate cube filled with chocolate mousse.

Are you getting the idea yet? Maybe some pictures will help.

hummina hummina

hummina hummina

Oooo Baby!

Oooo Baby!

First the bad things: First, one of the hostesses (or maybe she was a waitress filling in for the hostess) was too cool to be friendly, which we found off-putting. Second, the coffee was awful. The Americano we ordered to replace the coffee was not as bad, but still disappointing. By awful I mean the coffee tasted like it had been brewed and then left on a burner for several hours. This, for a dessert place, is a major sin.

Now the good things:
Our waitress was very friendly and helpful. When asked about the gluten-free options, she was able to tell us what was available by checking a list they keep. There are enough options that most people will actually be stumped about what to order. I got the Chocolate Cube.

The Chocolate Cube

The Chocolate Cube

I could be wrong, but I think they keep these things chilled and then heat them up to room temperature when they serve them. It came with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and some nice chocolate and caramel drizzle. It was really amazing.

Sienna got some kind of hazelnut caramel crunch thing that wasn’t celiac-safe and that she ended up being kind of disappointed with. Partly because their caramel sauce had a butterscotch sort of flavor.

We were sufficiently impressed with Papa Haydn’s that we’ll definitely be visiting again. Have you been to Papa Haydn’s? Let us know what your experience was like! Also, we really want to know about your favorite gluten-free friendly dessert places in Portland Oregon. Leave a comment and let us know.

Times we have visited: 1 (So your experience may vary.)
Overall rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Price compared to “regular”: Same price, but expensive. Expect to pay $8 for a dessert.

Papa Haydn
701 NW 23rd Ave., Portland, Oregon 97210 / 503.228.7317
5829 SE Milwaukie Ave., Portland, Oregon 97202 / 503.232.9440


  1. says

    I have been to P. Hayden many times. I have gotten the raspberry panna cotta more than once and have been really happy with it. It’s true that the servers and especially the host can be a bit too cool for school. I guess they figure they can get away with it because they are so popular. One server I had wasn’t as accommodating about telling me their GF options, but it sounds like your server was a good one. Thanks for writing the article – since I had a cool server, I didn’t know they had so many GF desserts!

  2. says

    I’ve NEVER had any problem there. I have eaten dessert there at least 10 times. It is VERY worth the $8. Our servers have always been very knowledgeable and kind. You can also order it to go right from the counter, for a romantic get away. My favorite dessert in Portland is the Bacona Dolce (spelled wrong!), followed closely by New Cascadia cupcakes. Just saying don’t give up folks. Give them a try.

  3. Laura R says

    Papa Haydens is probably my favorite resturant in portland. They have so many gluten free desserts, and all are amazing (yes I have had all of them). They wait can be long, especially on the weekends, but so worth it. I would say give the coffee another try. They use stumptown, which is usually very good. My husband works in the coffee buisness and always enjoys their coffee. It could have just been old. If you like banana, try the 6 layer glace…amazing!


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