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.

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 (152)
Special Occasion (134)
Fit for Foodies (116)
See All
Creative Cuisine (110)
Good for Anniversaries (102)
Good for Birthdays (89)
Worth the Drive (85)
Hot Spot (82)
Good for Groups (77)
Fun (72)
Business Meals (69)
Handcrafted Cocktails (67)
Local Ingredients (65)
Neighborhood Gem (65)
Bar Seating (59)
Casual (59)
Authentic (58)
Vibrant Bar Scene (56)
People Watching (50)
Happy Hour (47)
Romantic (40)
Notable Wine List (38)
Great for Lunch (33)
Seasonal (28)
Pre/post Theatre (22)
Sunday Lunch (22)
Great for Outdoor Dining (20)
Comfort Food (19)
Tasting Menu (17)
Cozy (16)
Gluten Free Options (15)
Late-night Find (13)
Paleo Friendly (11)
Great Beer (10)
Organic (10)
Quiet Conversation (10)
Live Music (9)
Good Vegetarian Options (8)
Great for Brunch (8)
Disabled Access (7)
Tapas (7)
Quick Bite (6)
Scenic View (6)
Spicy (6)
Vegan (4)
Afternoon Coffee (2)
Afternoon Tea (1)
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3527 reviews
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 (Atlanta)·Dined a day ago

Great atmosphere! The outdoor area is fun with the live band.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Atlanta)·Dined 2 days ago

Really great food. Almost outstanding. I'd rate it closer to the 4.5 stars if I could - seasoning was lacking a bit on the calamari and short rib. Scallops and swordfish on point. Nice open restaurant. But for all the positives the food brought me, the service committed, in my mind, a cardinal sin. I felt rushed the entire meal. Rushed to order food while enjoying drinks. The entrees arrived before the appetizers were finished and cleared. Rushed to finish the entrees. Not offered coffee or dessert. The wait staff knows how to go through the motions, but they are apathetic and lack tact. It killed me. This could have been the complete package. The food was really good - the spices are just my personal preference. But the service just deflated my experience. I'm more sad than angry. Heavy sigh.

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food4
ambience3
service1

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on September 15, 2017

We will be back! Great food!

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service4

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on September 10, 2017

Excellent seafood cuisine. A little pricey compared to other top seafood in Atlanta

Tags: Special Occasion, Fun, Local Ingredients, Creative Cuisine, Vibrant Bar Scene, Handcrafted Cocktails, Happy Hour
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on September 10, 2017

Our favorite restaurant in Atlanta!
Our server, Mika, is the best!!!

Tags: Comfort Food, People Watching, Bar Seating, Business Meals, Good Vegetarian Options, Good for Groups, Good for a Date
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Atlanta)·Dined on September 9, 2017

Salty. Even by my standards the She Crab Soup and the Scallops were too salty.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Casual, Healthy, Good for a Date
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food3
ambience3
service4
value2

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on September 9, 2017

We found that everything we ate, with one exception (the roasted cauliflower), to be delicious. We had oysters, seafood soup, grilled calamari, fish and chips, whole grilled branzino and finished with the key lime tart with blueberry compote. One glass of wine and two cocktails...$184. The staff is very friendly. The noise level can be high. They have an outdoor area and this Saturday night a blues trio. We'd come back.

Tags: Seasonal, Local Ingredients, Worth the Drive, Hot Spot
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience3
service5
value3

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on September 9, 2017

This was my wife and I first time here the Service and food were GREAT!

Tags: Good for a Date
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience5
service5
value3

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on September 9, 2017

We had heard a lot about this place. Finally went for our Anniversary for an early dinner. Staff was nice, server was prompt and knew the menu well. They were very accommodating dealing with my wife's pepper allergy. Fish was really good. Lobster roll was really good. Drinks were good but kind of small and expensive. Overall it was a great experience for a nice Anniversary dinner and fresh seafood.

Tags: Authentic, Special Occasion, Healthy, Good for Anniversaries
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on September 7, 2017

One of my "go to" spots for dining while in town for business. The food and service are consistently good. Try the oysters!!

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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

vip
 (Washington DC)·Dined on September 7, 2017

Was amazing. We showed up very late as we escape the hurricane in Miami and they they took such good care of us. Thanks

Tags: Vibrant Bar Scene, Comfort Food, Good for Anniversaries, Casual, Bar Seating, Good for a Date
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Atlanta)·Dined on September 5, 2017

Excellent menu, staff, ambiance, drinks, food, and experience overall. I had heard great things about The Optimist prior and it lived up to the hype.

Tags: Bar Seating, Creative Cuisine, Good for a Date, Romantic, Great for Outdoor Dining
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on September 4, 2017

Very expensive for the tiny portions and the service was lacking

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food3
ambience3
service2
value1

 
·Dined on September 4, 2017

Great date night for two. Awesome food and ambience.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on September 4, 2017

This restaurant had been recommended to us by good friend. It did not disappoint. Four of us were celebrating my husband's 60th birthday and we had a wonderful time. The food was delicious all of it. We will go back again

Tags: Authentic, Bar Seating, Good for Anniversaries, Casual, Creative Cuisine
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Atlanta)·Dined on September 3, 2017

I have been here few times but this time we were disappointed. The dishes we tried were missing that wow factor. The food tasted like something you would eat at any average restaurant. They went from innovative in your face kind of taste to very simple.!

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food3
ambience4
service3
value3

vip
 (Atlanta)·Dined on September 3, 2017

For some reason the kitchen staff thought it was okay to shout chants ever 5 minutes. Since the kitchen is open to the main dining area, it quickly became annoying. It doesn't fit with the overall ambiance of the restaurant.

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food5
ambience3
service3
value4

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on September 3, 2017

Great food and attentive service as always. We've never had anything but a great time there. Always our choice for special occasions. 😃

Tags: Good for a Date, Casual, Good for Birthdays, Worth the Drive, Neighborhood Gem, Romantic, Good for Anniversaries
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Philadelphia)·Dined on September 3, 2017

Excellent food and service. The seafood and oyster selection is exceptional as well as the flavor combinations in the appetizers and main courses. It has a fun, anything goes vibe so you are welcomed whether you are dressed up or very casual.

Tags: Notable Wine List, Neighborhood Gem, Good for Anniversaries, Kid-friendly, Bar Seating, Great Beer, Spicy, Special Occasion, Worth the Drive, Paleo Friendly, Casual, Authentic, Healthy, Business Meals, Fun, Hot Spot, Good for a Date, Local Ingredients, Creative Cuisine, Vibrant Bar Scene, Handcrafted Cocktails, Good for Birthdays, Fit for Foodies
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on September 3, 2017

The food is very good and the wait staff are very knowledgeable and nice and friendly.

Tags: People Watching
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on September 2, 2017

Wonderful time but with a couple of meals were pretty small.

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food4
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on September 2, 2017

I always take friends here for the best seafood in ATL.

Tags: Good for a Date, Creative Cuisine, Worth the Drive, Bar Seating
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Birmingham)·Dined on September 2, 2017

I would highly recommend The Optimist. High quality food & service! Go there you will not be disappointed!

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on September 2, 2017

Food was great! Service was sub-par. I was very disappointed by the service or lack thereof. I think the restaurant is good, but due to poor service and the overall feeling of the restaurant, I can't say I'm dying to go back.

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food4
ambience2
service2
value3

 
·Dined on September 2, 2017

Very good meal and dining experience! The oyster selection is incredible!

Tags: Casual, Seasonal, Authentic, Good for Anniversaries, Notable Wine List
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Nashville)·Dined on September 1, 2017

GREAT SEAFOOD!
GREAT SERVICE!
GREAT ATMOSPHERE!
WE GO THERE EVERY TIME WE ARE IN ATLANTA.

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on September 1, 2017

An excellent meal with attentive but not hovering service. The ambiance was comfortable without being austentatious. It stands up to their reputation.

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Special Occasion, Happy Hour, Local Ingredients, Good for Groups, Authentic, Good for Birthdays, Good for a Date, Pre/post Theatre, Handcrafted Cocktails, Business Meals, Healthy, Seasonal, Quiet Conversation, Fit for Foodies, Good for Anniversaries
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Nashville)·Dined on September 1, 2017

Friend's birthday

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Washington DC)·Dined on September 1, 2017

The appetizers and desert were quite good. The main courses (fish, lobster) were ok but nothing special, considering they were quite expensive. The service was very nice.

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food3
ambience3
service4
value2

vip
 (Charlotte)·Dined on September 1, 2017

Wonderful service - server gave us recommendations for other places to go while in ATL including bars to watch college football (we were there for the FSU v Bama game). Great oysters with lots of ways to dress them. Yummy french fries with a delicious vinegar-tasting dipping sauce. My lobster cobb had a little too much dressing. Would return!

Tags: Tapas
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food4
ambience5
service5
value3

vip
 (Atlanta)·Dined on August 31, 2017

Great meal. The oysters were particularly good!

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food5
ambience5
service5

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on August 31, 2017

For our first visit we were very impressed with the venue, menu, & drink options. Our server, Craig made excellent recommendations and we enjoyed everything from the oysters, to entrees, to dessert. We will return - soon. Ford Fry never disappoints.

Tags: Worth the Drive, Vibrant Bar Scene, Good for a Date
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

vip
 (Atlanta)·Dined on August 31, 2017

My son and I took my wife out for her birthday. We arrived for an early dinner (6 PM) and the restaurant had numerous open tables both at the windows and in the main dining area. We were seated promptly but my wife found the chairs to be a bit uncomfortable. The staff was very accommodating and moved us to a different table with different seating. My son was late due to traffic so we ordered two glasses of wine while we waited. When my son arrived we ordered the calamari and the octopus appetizers. These dishes were both well presented, delicious, and portioned sufficient for the 3 of us. We each ordered a different main course, I had the whole grilled Branzino which I had filleted in the kitchen, My wife had the coriander crusted Wahoo, and my son had the duck fat poached swordfish. Sides were fried rice and roasted zucchini and squash. Also ordered a very nice bottle of Sancerre. The Branzino was well prepared and in a nice sauce but a bit bland. My wife's Wahoo was spectacular and she shared a bite but my son cleaned his plate of the swordfish so I have to assume it was excellent as well. Shared a nice fig upside down cake for dessert . Overall the decor is modern and a bit casual for an upscale restaurant. The service is consistently excellent throughout the meal. Knowledgeable, friendly, and prompt. The food was up to expectation for the best seafood restaurant in Atlanta. Prices were quite reasonable for the quality and quantity of food. Wine list was fairly priced as well. Highly recommend.

Tags: Good for a Date, Fit for Foodies, Worth the Drive, Good for Birthdays, Business Meals
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food5
ambience3
service5
value5

 
 (Hawaii)·Dined on August 30, 2017

Good food; excellent server

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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on August 30, 2017

Best octopus ever. Loved the east coast oysters.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on August 27, 2017

Went to celebrate my significant other's birthday. Great ambiance...great food ...we had the monkfish which was delicious and the lobster roll which was on point to anything you've had in NY/Boston/Maine regions. Wine was great. Clean restrooms. I recommend valeting...it's convenient and it was $3 and the valets work off of tips.

A few of the reviews that I read talked about the noise level...it was a bit noisy but not to the level that you can't have a conversation. I put a note in the reservation that we were celebrating a birthday and to give us a seat with a good view ...which they accommodated. Where they sat us was more intimate so we were able to talk without the noise level bothering us.

Also reviews did talk about spotty service from the wait staff...I would also agree with that...for the most part our server was good...the only thing ...we waited a really long time for a 2nd glass of wine and the server actually forgot ...we ended up finishing our meal and the server removed the wine glass that was set out earlier for the 2nd glass of wine. When dessert came, the server then remembered the wine...by then, it was too late ....the server did bring my significant other a small bourbon as a birthday after dinner drink since he doesn't do dessert. That was very nice ending to our first trip to the Optimist. We will definitely go back.

Tags: Sunday Lunch, Local Ingredients, Great for Brunch, Creative Cuisine, Good for Groups, Good for Anniversaries, Afternoon Coffee, Casual, Good for a Date, Authentic, Late-night Find
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food5
ambience4
service4
value4

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on August 27, 2017

We got the oysters - don't remember the kinds we tried, but all were tasty! Sat near the raw bar - there's quite a selection!
My hubby got the full body octopus and raved about it! He was quite impressed!
I got the shrimp on the appetizer menu with the bread to sop up the very yummy curry sauce. Huge shrimp! Very good!
Also, the beet salad and the hushpuppies - all wonderful

Staff was very friendly. My only complaint is that we had to wait quite awhile to get our bottle of wine and even had empty water glasses for some time. I had to stop eating for a few minutes b/c I don't like to eat with out something to drink.

Tags: Fun, Happy Hour, People Watching, Fit for Foodies
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on August 26, 2017

Food and atmosphere were amazing as always!! We went to celebrate a family birthday and our server made it a special night.

Tags: Good for Groups, Great for Outdoor Dining, Special Occasion, Neighborhood Gem, Vibrant Bar Scene, Good for a Date, Fun
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience5
service5
value4

 
·Dined on August 25, 2017

This was a disappointing experience. The swordfish and short rib were over cooked, the waitress offered us an appetizer "on the house" that wasn't credited from our bill, the tables and chairs are so close to each other that you can't hear anything aside from the conversations happening next to you. Heaven forbid you have to get up to go to the bathroom or have a little room to set your purse down, because you'll be on top of the person at the table next to you. Wish we could take back the entire experience.

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food3
ambience2
service3
value1

 
·Dined on August 25, 2017

Overall, Optimist was great. Our waiter was very knowledgeable of the menu. The food was well seasoned and grilled to perfection. One of the best vibes in Atlanta without a doubt.

Tags: Vibrant Bar Scene, Worth the Drive, Hot Spot, Good for a Date
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience5
service5
value4

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