About The Optimist

914 Howell Mill Rd.
Atlanta, GA 30318
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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

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.

Executive Chef:
Wesley True

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

Additional:
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 apietrobon@fordfry.com for special event information.

Restaurant Photos

The Optimist Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

4.6

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.6

service

4.6

ambience

4.5

noise

Moderate

95% would recommend it to a friend

Loved For

Seafood
Atlanta / Georgia
Most Booked
Atlanta / Georgia
Seafood
Atlanta
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Most Booked
Atlanta
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fit for foodies (256)
special occasion (186)
hot spot (150)
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good for groups (131)
neighborhood gem (120)
romantic (109)
vibrant bar scene (96)
notable wine list (75)
great for lunch (65)
great for outdoor dining (24)
late-night find (18)
great for brunch (12)
scenic view (12)
kid-friendly (7)
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2473 reviews
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food5
ambience5
service5

Got seated very quickly, food was served ...

Dined 2 days ago

Got seated very quickly, food was served quickly and was very good. Can't wait to go back again!

food5
ambience5
service5

So inspiring. One of the most memorable ...

vip
Dined 5 days ago

So inspiring. One of the most memorable experiences. Every interaction is perfectly designed.

food4
ambience3
service4

Great server. Great food.

Dined 5 days ago

Great server. Great food.

food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Terrific, energetic, and fresh.

Dined 6 days ago

I went alone after a conference, and chose to sit at the bar. I was impressed by everyone who worked there. The hostess was lovely and accommodating. The place was very busy, and it was a Tuesday. The bartender who waited on me, Michael, was funny, professional, alert. He talked me into an excellent version of a classic martini, and steered me toward a wine that perfectly complemented my food. I had some delicious oysters, hush puppies, and grilled octopus. Everything was done with great attention to detail, and with a slightly new twist. I can see why this restaurant is so popular!

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
food4
ambience5
service5

Great advice on oyster selection

Dined 6 days ago

Great advice on oyster selection

food5
ambience4
service5
value4

This is at least my third trip here over ...

Dined 6 days ago

This is at least my third trip here over the last year coming in from out of town. As always the oyster appetizers and then seafood entrees were fabulous. While the wine list is not super extensive, I am 3 for 3 in selecting delicious Chablis to pair with the seafood. It also seems reasonably priced (I have wine cellar so I pay particular attention to the quality of the wine). Portions are plenty large such that I never have room for dessert. Since I have had such good luck with the seafood I look forward to returning and enjoying again.

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
food4
ambience5
service5
value4

We frequent The Optimist because it is c ...

Dined on May 15, 2016

We frequent The Optimist because it is consistently a great place to eat. The menu is never the same, the cocktails are always fantastic and the service is impeccable. Our server this time was on point. He gave my wife something that was not on the menu which was fantastic and he provided great, clean and quick service.

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Atlanta Sea Food Must Do

Dined on May 15, 2016

Putt Putt in the outside. Fabulous cocktails, and amazing oysters in the inside. Very trendy place with a classy menu to go along with it. Great for long meals to share and do a tasting flight of oysters. But the main course options are good too. As is the wine list. Its a win all the way around.

Tags: hot spot
food4
ambience4
service5
value3

Took me three years to get here. Very go ...

Dined on May 15, 2016

Took me three years to get here. Very good meal, expertly prepared but the harissa-spiced asparagus didn't really fit well with the flounder and scallop mains we ordered. The kale salad was inundated with cheese, an ingredient not even listed. Still good, if not a meal in itself. Maybe I don't get out a bunch anymore, but with tip for two people was over $160. Skipping one dessert and two drinks would have saved $35. All this said, the food was tasty and I felt worth the price of admission. Couldn't believe how many folks were there on a Sunday night, just eatin'. They must be richer than me!

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

First time, hopefully not the last

vip
Dined on May 15, 2016

Fantastic food, great service, beautiful restaurant. Highly recommended.

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot
food5
ambience4
service4
value4

So good! Food is great!

Dined on May 14, 2016

Its not a quiet place, but don't let that persuade you. Food is fantastic. Wine list isn't bad.

Tags: fit for foodies, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot
food5
ambience5
service5
value4

Great experience

Dined on May 14, 2016

This restaurant has a great atmosphere- clean, modern, beachy and welcoming. The server was very knowledgeable and overall the service was spot-on. Great wine list. The food was excellent. We had oysters and octopus for starters- very tasty. The main courses didn't disappoint. I would definitely visit again next time I'm in town!!

Tags: fit for foodies, hot spot
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Recommended by a friend and colleague

Dined on May 14, 2016

This restaurant was highly recommended by a friend and colleague who had brought his family the previous week for a Graduation celebration. There was a variety of food to chose from on the menu and all of our choices were outstanding from the appetizers to the main course. We regret not having dessert, but we did have fabulous wine and cocktails. We will definitely make reservations again.

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, scenic view, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
food5
ambience3
service5
value5

Great Food

Dined on May 13, 2016

The food was great. The hush puppies are divine and the seafood gumbo is great. It was breezy where we were sitting. Like, my nose was running from being cold. The server explained something about the hoods in the kitchen pulling the air exactly where we were sitting. Other than us freezing, the food was great.

Tags: fit for foodies, special occasion, hot spot
food4
ambience5
service5
value5

Ambiance and customer service was excell ...

Dined on May 13, 2016

Ambiance and customer service was excellent. Very sexy interior and suitable for a date night. Dishes are small so you want to order an entree and a side. Overall excellent experience.

Tags: romantic, scenic view, vibrant bar scene
food4
ambience5
service4
value3

Cool place

Dined on May 12, 2016

I really liked The Optimist. I took my wife there for our anniversary and was not disappointed. I had the swordfish poached in duck fat, and it was great. Our server, Topher, was very professional and enjoyable.

Tags: good for groups, special occasion, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
food5
ambience4
service5
value4

This was our second visit to the Optimis ...

Dined on May 12, 2016

This was our second visit to the Optimist and we were not disappointed. We both ordered the whole fish and it is absolutely amazing. Will definitely go back.

Tags: fit for foodies
food4
ambience3
service3
value3

Lunch w/ daughter who just graduated from college

Dined on May 10, 2016

I took my daughter who just had graduated from college with honors as a special treat. She eaten at the Optimist but I had not. The food was very good and the portions were large. The grilled bread to go with my mussels was totally burnt as in a piece of charcoal on one side. Everything else with our meal was well prepared and flavorful. The staff was friendly and efficient but the hostesses could be friendlier and more inviting in greeting guests .We hope to return and see how things have improved.

Tags: fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, special occasion
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Great on Mothers Day

Dined on May 8, 2016

Fantastic experience as always at the Optimist. Great food and service.

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
food5
ambience5
service5
value4

Great place good food/service/ppl/ the m ...

Dined on May 8, 2016

Great place good food/service/ppl/ the mix drink need to be much better for that price too water down

Tags: good for groups, special occasion
food5
ambience4
service4
value5

Oyster

Dined on May 7, 2016

I am not a fan of raw oysters but I really like them fried and the ones at this restaurant are spectacular.

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion
food5
ambience5
service5
value4

Great place for fish

Dined on May 7, 2016

We had a wonderful dinner here, which was marked by excellent fish. Between the group of us, we got 2 amberjacks, 1 salmon, and 1 scallop dish, and they were all amazing. Our waiter was great too. I would love to return here and highly recommend it for a special occasion.

Tags: fit for foodies, special occasion
food3
ambience4
service4
value2

a tad over priced

Dined on May 6, 2016

Overall food was good. Oysters fresh. Entrees in some cases way overpriced. Ambiance good, but noisy. Would go back for oyster bar.

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, hot spot
food5
ambience5
service4

Amberjack (reef donkey) was delicious!

Dined on May 6, 2016

Amberjack (reef donkey) was delicious!

food5
ambience5
service5

We went for lunch, had the octopus and t ...

Dined on May 6, 2016

We went for lunch, had the octopus and the shrimp a la plancha for appetizers, both were fantastic. The fish entrees were amazing as well. The shrimp was one of a kinds dish, yes messy but totally worth it. For entrees we had red snapper over a bed if cauliflower purée and butter caper sauce, it was really good. We also had the flounder over a Peruvian chili sauce, very good as well. Totally recommend this restaurant for fish and seafood lovers.

food4
ambience5
service4

Liked very much the ambiance and the sty ...

Dined on May 5, 2016

Liked very much the ambiance and the style of the restaurant.

food5
ambience5
service5

We absolutely love the optimist. Shrimp ...

vip
Dined on May 3, 2016

We absolutely love the optimist. Shrimp a la plancha is a must every visit.

food5
ambience5
service5

My absolute favorite place for lunch. B ...

Dined on May 3, 2016

My absolute favorite place for lunch. Blackened amberjack with huge mound of irresistible shoe string fries were out of this world good.

food3
ambience5
service5

Exorbitant prices. The food was just so- ...

Dined on May 3, 2016

Exorbitant prices. The food was just so-so.

food5
ambience4
service4
value4

Definitely a gem!

Dined on May 1, 2016

Good food. Very nice space. Our waiter was very knowledgeable and friendly. The food came out fast and was very tasty. If you like oysters then is a good place, they have a great variety. Good for date night.

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, scenic view
food5
ambience5
service5

Food & service were top notch. The oyste ...

Dined on April 30, 2016

Food & service were top notch. The oyster selection was really impressive & very fresh!

food5
ambience5
service4

We've dined here several times. This las ...

Dined on April 30, 2016

We've dined here several times. This last time out server wasn't so great, but typically, they have exceptional service. Excellent food, but all Ford Fry restaurants do.

food5
ambience5
service4

What a great place, the ambiance is a ve ...

vip
Dined on April 29, 2016

What a great place, the ambiance is a very warm cozy feeling from the miner lightening, 60's tiling over back kitchen wall, airy, and hints of a rustic feel. If you choose not to sit in the main dining area, the optimist provides a oyster bar that's open seating and offers a small menu but still great for a quick lunch, and if theirs a bit of a wait no worries... Putt putt golf right outside that provides some entertainment while you wait. The food small portioned but fair in price provided me with a beautiful presentation, as well sides that were extra to compliment my meal. The service at the bar was average, drink however great,the wait staff was very on topic my visit and attentive to my needs while dining. I will definitely comeback.

food5
ambience5
service5

Amazing food and atmosphere coupled with ...

Dined on April 29, 2016

Amazing food and atmosphere coupled with phenomenal service.

food5
ambience5
service5
value4

Reliably excellent

Dined on April 28, 2016

This is my new favorite place in Atlanta. The scallops are always awesome, and the bread is warm and yeasty. We almost ordered another serving of rolls for dessert -- but only almost. Personally I loved the cilantro-lime sorbet, although apparently, my dinner companions informed me after tasting it, it is not for everyone. The caramelly ice cream that comes with the apple donuts is also yummy.

Tags: fit for foodies
food5
ambience5
service5
value4

Color me impressed

Dined on April 27, 2016

My bestfriend and I share a birthday. We were looking for a decent place for dinner with a few friends. After asking around, we settled on The Optimist. I will admit to being skeptical of the hype. That all went away the moment the valet opened my door. He was friendly, welcoming, and enthusiastic. It only got better from there. The ambience, service, food, etc are all worthy of the highest praise. I'm a fan and I will return whenever I'm in town.

Tags: fit for foodies, special occasion, hot spot
food5
ambience4
service5

Excellent food, great cocktails. Perfect ...

Dined on April 26, 2016

Excellent food, great cocktails. Perfect experience!

food5
ambience5
service5
value3

Outstanding!

Dined on April 24, 2016

Lou, our server, was outstanding. He was one of the best things about the experience. When I go back I will probably just drink wine and eat oysters because both are outstanding!

Tags: fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
food5
ambience4
service5
value4

Not our First or last time here

Dined on April 24, 2016

Excellent, attentive, & knowledgeable staff. Outstanding menu w/ items prepared perfectly!

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot
food5
ambience5
service3

Food was excellent as always but service ...

Dined on April 23, 2016

Food was excellent as always but service was not attentive except when it came time to clearing plates, at which time we felt rushed. The waiter started clearing our plates while I was still eating my dinner and made no apologies when he realized I was eating but continued to clear everything from the table. Drinks from the bar were especially slow.

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