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
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
$31 to $50
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
$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: 404-355-5311x212
Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Farm to Table, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Private Room, Wine
Special Events & Promotions:
Please contact Abigail Pietrobon at firstname.lastname@example.org for special event information.
The Optimist Ratings and Reviews
We were celebrating a birthday, so they ...
We were celebrating a birthday, so they gave us menus stamped Happy Birthday! Nice touch. Our server recommended the black grouper, which didn't disappoint. My friend enjoyed the scallops. It can get a little noisy, but great energy overall. We'll definitely be back!
Rockin'. Always good. Impressive consi ...
Rockin'. Always good. Impressive consistency from quality of food and service to energetic and vibrant atmosphere. AND, I love the play lists in all the Ford Fry restaurants.....
Led Zeppelin to Blue Oyster Cult and everything in between.
Always and I mean always good--been our favorite in Atlanta for years!
Was in town for business and chose this ...
Was in town for business and chose this restaurant over the typical chains in Atlanta. Bar and wine selection were great. Food was good but has a little room for improvement. Give it a shot. Very fun atmosphere in dining room.
Not as good as it has been in the past. ...
Not as good as it has been in the past. The Optimist has been one of my favorites in Atlanta since its opening. On this visit the food was spotty. Gumbo was burned and devoid of any seafood save one small chunk of fish. The charred octopus was very tough and the sauce was overwhelming. I've had this before and loved it. My amberjack was fantastic. Dessert - not even worth mentioning.
We had a disappointing experience at The ...
We had a disappointing experience at The Optimist. We were there on a Sunday night to celebrate our anniversary. The restaurant was not crowded...in fact there were many empty table. The service was super slow. We had to wait a long time for our drinks and even longer for our food. All of the food was good except for my salmon, which was under cooked. When I told our waitress that she had not asked me what temperature I wanted the salmon, she responded "the chef prepares it medium rare" and walked off. She never apologized or offered to make it right. This used to be our favorite restaurant. Not sure if we will ever go back after this experience.
We love coming to the Optimist for speci ...
We love coming to the Optimist for special occasions. It gives us a chance to try new foods prepared brilliantly. The wait staff catered to our every wish and made the best recommendations. Love coming here and can't wait to go back.
The food was fabulous! Our group shared ...
The food was fabulous! Our group shared several items beginning with the house provided rolls (best roll I have ever tasted: texture, consistency, flavor, etc.) and spanning/including a variety of oysters, octopus, hush-puppies with the cane syrup butter, and duck fat poached swordfish. This has/is one of my favorite restaurants to visit in Atlanta for special occasions. The beer menu and wine list are excellent, too.
Great oysters, solid entrees, good wine ...
Great oysters, solid entrees, good wine list. Wait staff, most were fantastic with one or two not conscientious or courteous, had to ask one of them to 'remove their backside hovering over our table' as the view to my dinner partner involved only seeing half of them. Tables are close together but this is not justification for being rude.
Unique place to go for Oysters and with ...
Unique place to go for Oysters and with a changing menu to keep repeat engagement. The food descriptions were more impressive than the actual executions. For example, crispy potatoes as a side dish appeared as no more than a sauced potato skin appetizer. Service is remarkably, understandably slow during a busy Friday night. The seafood menu was not particularly diverse but the restaurant is a good change of pace for local seafood dining. This would be a great place in the rotation for work-related dining as well. However, the noise levels and lack of privacy would preclude great dialogue or first dates. Super glad I went, enjoyed my food and meal but was a bit underwhelmed. I will be back eventually, hopefully to select from the next iteration of the menu.
At the suggestion of my golfing buddy, w ...
At the suggestion of my golfing buddy, we drove the 44 miles to The Optimist to celebrate our 49th anniversary. Thanks to Open Table, our menus were printed with Happy Anniversary in bold letters and the staff was aware of our anniversary. Cooper, our server and knowledgeable guide, was very attentive and helpful. The food was great as well as the service. It was a great experience for my wife and I such that we will return again.
My wife and I were celebrating our 5th Y ...
My wife and I were celebrating our 5th Year Anniversary at The Optimist. I had the Lobster Roll and my wife had the fish sandwich with Basmati fried rice and hushpuppies. Our food was better than we could have hoped for or imagined. Excellent all around. We will be going back.
We have dined here several times since t ...
We have dined here several times since the opening and it has gotten progressively less satisfying. As of my last visit, I would compare the food quality to dining at Applebee's. At least the ambiance and oysters are still good.
The restaurant was attractive and the se ...
The restaurant was attractive and the server was friendly and attentive. Unfortunately, I was just not impressed with the food. I started with a cup of gumbo which was fine, but nothing special. My entrée was the grilled grouper, which was attractively plated but which had almost no taste. I tried to convince myself that the lack of seasoning was acceptable and was intended to highlight the natural flavor of the fish, but that really didn't work. Each bite was just a disappointment for me. I ordered a side of the beignet-style hushpuppies. Again, the presentation was very nice, topped with the expected powdered sugar, but the taste did not live up to expectations.
We reached a milestone in our personal l ...
We reached a milestone in our personal life and wanted to splurge. We have been to The Optimist before and we were craving seafood so this was our choice. We still love the restaurant setting, we had a great waiter. We were disappointed that at a 6:15 reservation on a Sunday two of the fish selections were not available - Red Snapper and Swordfish. We were informed of the absence of Swordfish upon seating; the lack of Red Snapper came after placing our order. We did enjoy our appetizers (Mussels and Fried Oysters). For the first time we ordered the Hushpuppies - not our fav - tasted like beignets - too sweet for our taste.
The room is very lovely and we were seat ...
The room is very lovely and we were seated quickly, we were running 15 minutes late but called ahead of time and they were very accommodating. We had oysters for 1st course, great but obviously that is more nature than anything prepared. Next courses were octopus ( good flavor, but not nice and charred like I have had it elsewhere, more braised and wet) and a yellowtail appetizer that was awful and we returned, all salty and fishy, server agreed that people didn't seem to like it...take it off menu!!! Main course was duck fat poached swordfish, absolutely delicious ...and salted caramel ice cream also great ...our server was somewhat inattentive ( no side plates, hard to track down when we needed something) but everyone around us seemed to be getting great service, and other servers were happy to help out when we once again couldn't track down ours. All in all very pleasant dinner, one bad dish.
It lived up to everything I had heard. R ...
It lived up to everything I had heard. Rarely, am I actually impressed with the "hot spot", "best restaurant" type of places. I find most of them to under execute and be over priced. Not so here. We started with the Georgia Shrimp la plancha which reminds me of a New Orleans BBQ shrimp. It was juicy and decadent and delish. My wife had NY strip which was topped with mushrooms and Parmesan. We both agreed that was maybe the best steak either of us has ever had. I had the cornmeal crusted snapper and it was perfect. I really enjoyed the okra side which had a slightly spicy sauce. For dessert we had the raspberry lemonade pie which was light and very refreshing. Kyle was our server. He was the perfect balance of personality and efficiency. He did a great job.
two mature couples went to the Optimist ...
two mature couples went to the Optimist for the first and probably last time. the restaurant looks lovely but there is no way to absorb the noise; not just loud conversation but awful percussion music that was way too loud. it was impossible to have a conversation.
the menu was lovely; the food delicious, the presentation outstanding, the wine good, the service fine but the noise level could not overcome all the positives.
spoke with the manager prior to leaving; he said we should have told him and he could have lowered the music level but not sure that would have made a difference.
As always, the cuisine was superb - es ...
As always, the cuisine was superb - especially the fried oysters. Our server promptly took care of our every want & need, often with no prompting - and got everything we ordered to us FAST. the Optimist is a bit pricy, BUT "you get whet you pay for".
Dishes were well prepared and tasteful t ...
Dishes were well prepared and tasteful though seemingly everything had a tad much salt. The servers were great but it seemed the kitchen couldn't keep pace with the surprising number of diners for a Wednesday night.
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