Nearby points of interest

  1. Distance: 0.38mi
  2. Distance: 0.59mi
  3. Distance: 0.73mi
  4. Distance: 1.44mi
  1. Distance: 0.38mi
  2. Distance: 0.59mi
  3. Distance: 0.73mi
  4. Distance: 1.44mi

Nearby points of interest

  1. Distance: 0.38mi
  2. Distance: 0.59mi
  3. Distance: 0.73mi
  4. Distance: 1.44mi
  1. Distance: 0.38mi
  2. Distance: 0.59mi
  3. Distance: 0.73mi
  4. Distance: 1.44mi

About The Optimist

The Optimist and Oyster Bar at The Optimist is simply "The Hamptons meets The South." We are passionate about sourcing sustainable seafood and preparing it in classic ways. We're not reinventing the wheel -- just perfectly roasting "farm," fish and shellfish over Georgia hickory. Menu items range from the most authentic seafood gumbo with "pot luck" garlic bread to Maine lobster rolls, Gulf grouper with smoky spring Vidalias, and an ever changing selection of super fresh East and West coast oysters. The cool irony is that we have adapted a historic country ham aging "house" into an amazing space of comfort and escape through inspirations of coastal surf culture.

Oh... and if you are not a seafood person, we LOVE meat too! No worries, be optimistic! :) ...Ford Fry

914 Howell Mill Rd.
Atlanta, GA 30318
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Dining Style:
Casual Elegant

Cuisines:
Seafood

Hours of Operation:

Lunch: Monday - Friday: 11:30am - 2:30pm; Dinner: Sunday - Thursday: 5:00pm - 10:00pm, Friday - Saturday: 5:00pm - 11:00pm
The Oyster Bar opens at 3pm Saturday & Sundays

Cross Street:
8th Street

Dress Code:
Casual Dress

Price Range:
$31 to $50

Payment Options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

Phone Number:
(404) 477-6260

Website:
http://www.theoptimistrestaurant.com/

Parking Details:
$3 Valet service is offered through the Brady parking garage, located on property . Additional surface street parking is available through the neighborhood, as well as additional lots in the area.

Private Party Facilities:
The Optimist has a variety of event spaces that include bar events, restaurant buy outs, private dining up to 20 guests, semi-private dining for up to 50 guests.

Private Party Contact:
Abigail Pietrobon: (404) 355-5311 ext. 212

Additional:
Banquet, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, BYO Wine, Corkage Fee, Farm to Table, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Private Room, Wine

Special Events & Promotions:
Please contact Abigail Pietrobon at apietrobon@fordfry.com for special event information.

The Optimist Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

4.7

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.6

service

4.6

ambience

4.6

value

4.1

noise

Moderate

93% would recommend it to a friend

Good for a Date (131)
Fit for Foodies (128)
Special Occasion (121)
See All
Creative Cuisine (109)
Modern Decor (87)
Good for Birthdays (83)
Hot Spot (82)
Good for Anniversaries (79)
Worth the Drive (79)
Bar Seating (77)
Open Kitchen (69)
Handcrafted Cocktails (68)
Romantic (67)
Neighborhood Gem (59)
Business Meals (57)
Fun (54)
Vibrant Bar Scene (54)
Good for Groups (51)
Authentic (47)
Healthy (46)
Casual (41)
Great for Lunch (40)
Happy Hour (39)
Local Ingredients (39)
People Watching (38)
Notable Wine List (35)
Great for Outdoor Dining (27)
Seasonal (23)
Pre/post Theatre (21)
Wood Oven (21)
Cozy (18)
Great Beer (16)
Late-night Find (15)
Comfort Food (12)
Tasting Menu (12)
Paleo Friendly (11)
Sunday Lunch (11)
Organic (9)
Outstanding Value (8)
Disabled Access (7)
Good Vegetarian Options (7)
Scenic View (7)
Gluten Free Options (7)
Kid-friendly (7)
Quick Bite (6)
Great for Brunch (6)
Fireplace (5)
Family Style (4)
Tapas (4)
Spicy (4)
Live Music (4)
Quiet Conversation (4)
Vegan (3)
Molecular Gastronomy (3)
Historic (2)
Private Room (1)
Afternoon Coffee (1)
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3174 reviews
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 (Atlanta)·Dined 2 days ago

Food was excellent and the pricing was fair. Our waiter was a little icy and the restaurant was very loud. Next time I will ask to be seated in the oyster bar room. But will definitely be back.

Tags: Modern Decor, Fit for Foodies, Business Meals, Special Occasion
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service3
value4

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined 2 days ago

Anniversary dinner and trying a new place. Great service and food. Too loud for an intimate dinner but overall a great place. We'll be going back with friends for a drink and casual dining. It is more than just an oyster bar.

Tags: Vibrant Bar Scene, Special Occasion, Good for Anniversaries, Great for Outdoor Dining
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value3

vip
 (Atlanta)·Dined 3 days ago

Oysters outstanding, Eduardo the wine somm provided excellent suggestions and an education to boot.

Tags: Fit for Foodies
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Atlanta)·Dined 3 days ago

Oysters were good, drinks were good. Trying too hard on the lobster roll - too much of a greasy grilling on the bun took away from the lobster, and bread too thick on the fish sandwich. Nice atmosphere and good service.

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food4
ambience4
service5
value3

vip
 (Central Coast)·Dined 4 days ago

Just absolutely fabulous. I am an out of towner and this place will always be at the top of my when I visit Atlanta!

Tags: Comfort Food, Special Occasion, Notable Wine List, Good for Birthdays, Creative Cuisine, Neighborhood Gem, Good for a Date
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value3

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined 5 days ago

32 dollars for end pièce of dried halibut nothubg else. Bread good service attentive ut food overpriced and overrated

Tags: People Watching, Great for Outdoor Dining, Bar Seating, Good for a Date
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food2
ambience4
service5
value2

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on April 17, 2017

Good restaurant. Dessert was great- Pineapple Upside Down. Amazing Sevice. Entrees were a bit busy for me. I got the Mahi and it was good but had pork belly and Dijon. Just a lot going on. Love classic seafood options with exotic sides. I want to taste the fish. Overall a good choice. I will return.

Tags: Modern Decor, Cozy, Bar Seating, Good for a Date, Casual
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food3
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (Raleigh)·Dined on April 17, 2017

My wife and I visited The Optimist while in town for the aquarium. We don't go out to eat often so when we do we always hope it will be special...and The Optimist didn't disappoint. Service was impeccable and the atmosphere fit our tastes well feeling semi-casual and not "stuffy." The wine and drinks list was well rounded. The food was fantastic. We started with the crispy octopus for an appetizer which was sweet and spicy and highly recommended. My wife ordered Mahi Mahi and I the Swordfish. Both were cooked perfectly with classic flavors and perfect pairings of meat and vegetables. The only slight I will give them is, it is on the pricy side for the quantity. It certainly counts as a very nice night out (at least on our monthly budget). I would highly recommend The Optimist to anyone looking for a fun date night with excellent seafood.

Tags: Good for a Date, Open Kitchen, Business Meals, Handcrafted Cocktails, Authentic
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on April 17, 2017

Great lunch and overall meal, if a little on the pricey side. My only gripe is that some of the fish items are a la carte without being explicit about it. It's quiet for lunch but loud at dinner because of the hipster converted warehouse thing.

Tags: Open Kitchen, Handcrafted Cocktails, Fit for Foodies, Creative Cuisine, Great for Lunch, Hot Spot, Business Meals
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value3

vip
 (Denver)·Dined on April 15, 2017

Food was excellent. Portions were small, but everything was outstanding.

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food5
ambience5
service5

vip
 (Charleston)·Dined on April 15, 2017

Totally enjoyed everything about The Optimist. The food, drink and service were great. The selection of oysters was fantastic. Would highly recommend

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Modern Decor, Good for Birthdays, Handcrafted Cocktails, Good for Groups, Creative Cuisine, Local Ingredients, Business Meals, Hot Spot, Special Occasion, Worth the Drive
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on April 15, 2017

Innovative seafood, attentive service, vibrant neighborhood close to central Atlanta.

Tags: Creative Cuisine
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food5
ambience2
service5
value3

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on April 15, 2017

Celebrated my boyfriends 40th birthday. The service was great, but the food was ok. Everything was cold.

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food2
ambience5
service5
value3

 
 (E. Tennessee)·Dined on April 14, 2017

The food is great and the staff is very friendly! The hushpuppies are to die for. If you take the shrimps a la plancha (another amazing dish), take it last as it is very flavorfull and may attenuate more subtle dish that follow. For dessert, the salted caramel ice-cream is definitely worth it.

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food5
ambience5
service5

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on April 14, 2017

Mussels were excellent. Can't lose with the lobster roll. Service was OK but it was lunch and OK was all that was needed. It was a good lunch. Food was fresh and tasty. No complaints.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Paleo Friendly, Great for Lunch, Kid-friendly
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on April 13, 2017

Great place, tops seafood everything was very impressive

Tags: Bar Seating
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food4
ambience5
service4
value4

vip
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on April 13, 2017

Friend Reunion

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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

vip
 (Atlanta)·Dined on April 12, 2017

Our first visit to the Optimist blew us away. Second visit a few weeks later, the shine had worn off. We do love the eclectic and creative menu and at this point, think we will just order the crudos and appetizers rather than the entrees. My swordfish was way overcooked and very oddly paired with fatty meat. My husband enjoyed his halibut, but our friend had fish and chips where there was an amazing amount of crust and very little fish inside. The prices for those entrees also seem overboard. Lastly, the chairs with the wooden backs are at an angle that hits you in the small of your back and is incredibly uncomfortable.

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Special Occasion
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food3
ambience4
service4
value3

vip
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on April 9, 2017

The Optimist has nice open space seating and inviting decor. Our server was very attentive and gave excellent recommendations. We had the Octopus and Tuna Poke as starters, Swordfish & Brisket entree, and the Ice Cream Sandwich that is made from strawberry macaroons. Everything was prepared and plated very superbly. I would definitely return when in the midtown area and I would highly recommend to friends.

Tags: Fit for Foodies
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value4

vip
 (Atlanta)·Dined on April 9, 2017

First time here and will definitely be back! The grilled octopus starter was amazing. Just a little bit spicy and very tasteful. The scallops were perfectly cooked and went really well with the fried basmati rice. Mika was the perfect server: knowledgeable, friendly, there when needed.

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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (Birmingham)·Dined on April 8, 2017

I can't say enough about the service. Everyone seems to work as a team and try their best to provide a great experience while there.

Tags: Hot Spot, Modern Decor, Business Meals
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value3

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on April 8, 2017

Had a great meal and the dessert was amazing. Service was exceptional

Tags: Business Meals, Creative Cuisine, Good for Anniversaries
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food4
ambience4
service5
value3

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on April 7, 2017

I have been here several times and always thought the food was excellent. I was not disappointed this tine as everything was delicious. Oysters were the best I have ever had. Service was competent and friendly, as well as timely. Anyone desiring a great seafood dinner should enjoy The Optimist!

Tags: Worth the Drive, Great Beer, Good for Groups, Business Meals, Hot Spot, Healthy, Good for Birthdays, Good for Anniversaries, Modern Decor, Special Occasion, Creative Cuisine, Handcrafted Cocktails, Notable Wine List, Good for a Date, Romantic
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (Portland)·Dined on April 7, 2017

Wonderful dinner. Fresh seafood with perfect seasoning and accompaniments. Each of us selected several small dishes over the entrees, and were very happy with our choices. The Arctic Char Tartar was fresh and toppings included fresh mint - clean and bright. Ordered the GA white shrimp over grits rather than the offered toast - messy (as the shrimp are cook in the shell), but worth it. Simple salad was nice between courses. Halibut cheeks over (skimpy amount of) grits were good. Service is excellent. Setting is very spacious, with character, though loud, but with some seating in sides which helps a bit with the noise. Cornbread beignets were like dessert with powdered sugar!

Tags: Casual, Wood Oven, Authentic, Open Kitchen, Bar Seating, Modern Decor, Fit for Foodies, Comfort Food, Neighborhood Gem, People Watching, Vibrant Bar Scene, Handcrafted Cocktails
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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on April 7, 2017

Raw oysters were the best I have ever had. Don't miss the hush puppies. Everything we had was delicious.

Tags: Good for Anniversaries, Happy Hour, Fit for Foodies, Romantic, Fun, Vibrant Bar Scene, Good for a Date, Open Kitchen, Bar Seating, Modern Decor, Good for Groups, Creative Cuisine, Authentic, Seasonal, Good for Birthdays, Great for Lunch, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (New Orleans)·Dined on April 5, 2017

The food is delicious. The waiter suggested 3 appetizers and 3 main courses for our party of 3. We shared the food because each of us loved what we ordered. This is my go to place every time I'm in Atlanta.

Tags: Casual
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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on April 5, 2017

This place is consistently great

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food5
ambience5
service5

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on April 5, 2017

Really enjoyed our anniversary dinner here - our first time at the Optimist. Had the gumbo (a bit spicy) and she-crab soup (very good!). Halibut for entree - very nice with interesting sauce! Signature vodka drink very good. Pino Gris and Pino Grigio wines very good choices. Caramel w/salt ice cream tasty. Interesting kitchen. Our server was attentive and very knowledgeable re the menu and wine, as well as the history of this building. All in all, a very satisfying experience!

Tags: Casual, Special Occasion, Worth the Drive, Good for Anniversaries, Authentic, Hot Spot, Scenic View, Healthy, Romantic, Fit for Foodies, Handcrafted Cocktails, Good for a Date, Creative Cuisine, Paleo Friendly, Vegan, Fun, Good for Birthdays, Open Kitchen, Good Vegetarian Options, Notable Wine List
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on April 5, 2017

We had a three course meal and every course was unique and delicious. It is a bit noisy but worth it for the food and great service.

Tags: Good for Groups, Fit for Foodies
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food4
ambience3
service5
value3

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on April 4, 2017

The mussels were not thoroughly cooked, fully a 3rd of them were not opened, and they were stringy and gooey. The peel and eat shrimp were covered in so much old bay type seasoning that I couldn't even taste the shrimp. Might has well have been Captain D's. I ordered the field peas (I'm a southern boy). They were not field peas at all, they were sugar peas in the pod. The fish was good, but I don't intend to go back.

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food3
ambience3
service4
value2

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on April 4, 2017

Dining with an out of town friend and wanted to show him one of the best restaurants in Atlanta. Beautiful evening so we sat at an outside table and enjoyed great food and wonderful service.

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Special Occasion, Pre/post Theatre, Authentic, Late-night Find, Business Meals, Good for Birthdays, Good for Anniversaries, Handcrafted Cocktails, Great for Outdoor Dining, Happy Hour, Great Beer, Bar Seating, Kid-friendly
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value3

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on April 2, 2017

The raw bar at Optimist is my favorite part of the restaurant. You can mix and match a variety of oysters, watch the crew, and watch other customers. The seafood is delicious and the wine list is pretty good.

Tags: Vibrant Bar Scene, Happy Hour, People Watching, Special Occasion, Good for Birthdays, Hot Spot, Bar Seating, Romantic, Good for a Date
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service3
value2

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on April 2, 2017

Awesome dinner for moms birthday!!

Tags: Great for Outdoor Dining, Good for a Date, Bar Seating, Healthy, Open Kitchen, Casual
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Atlanta)·Dined on April 2, 2017

Very expensive for average spicy seafood in town. Our third time in a while and certainly the last.. the oysters were disgusting! I wonder if they changed the staff or the chef? Disappointing..

Tags: Good for a Date, Spicy
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food2
ambience5
service2
value1

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on April 2, 2017

I have eaten here several times. On this visit, my wife's mussels were undercooked, but the rest of the food was excellent. Our server was not very attentive, and seemed somewhat irritated if we took to long to order or answer questions. However, this was not typical of our past experience, so we will certainly return.

Tags: Great for Brunch, Good for Birthdays, Business Meals, Modern Decor, Vibrant Bar Scene
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food3
ambience5
service3
value3

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on April 1, 2017

I went to the Optimist for the first time on a date and it was a great choice! Our server was attentive but not overbearing - she checked on us just enough and always came back for a purpose. She was knowledgeable about the restaurant and the food, as well as where they source the food. Everything was cooked perfectly and the wine (I got the only Riesling on the menu at that time) was wonderful. I had the seafood chowder, monkfish, and my date and I shared the basmati rice. I would love to go back!

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on April 1, 2017

We enjoyed the ambience of the Optimist! The service was very good and attentive. Our only negative comment was that both my husband and I thought our food was overly "salty".

Tags: Casual, Modern Decor, Great for Outdoor Dining, Good for Anniversaries, Special Occasion, Good for a Date, Good for Birthdays
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience5
service5
value3

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on April 1, 2017

We had a lovely dinner experience and both fish dishes we had were amazing!

Tags: Bar Seating, Business Meals, Good for Birthdays, Good for Anniversaries, Local Ingredients, Seasonal
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Atlanta)·Dined on March 31, 2017

I selected this restaurant because my wife and I were looking to celebrate a special occasion during Lent, which restricted us to vegetarian or seafood options on a Friday night. We read the reviews form The Optimist and decided to try it, as the location was also close to where we were looking to dine. The appetizers and the drinks were fabulous; the tuna was by far the best part of our meal. The entrees, however, were disappointing. My Branzino lacked taste, and my wife's blackened Bass wasn't too special either. We were hoping the dessert menu saved the evening, but the Roulade wasn't amazing either - it was solid, but not $9 solid. If you go, request a booth, otherwise you'll be seated at tables that make listening to the person(s) across very difficult.

Tags: Paleo Friendly, Handcrafted Cocktails
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food3
ambience4
service5
value3

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on March 31, 2017

Our waiting on Friday night (3/31) was amazing. I cannot remember his name, but he was serving us for our 6pm reservation. Out table was located in the middle section closest to the bar (My back was to the bar). I wish I could remember his name.

Tags: Disabled Access, Worth the Drive, Good for Groups, Vibrant Bar Scene, Fun, Bar Seating, People Watching
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

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