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

4.5

ambience

4.5

value

4.1

noise

Moderate

94% would recommend it to a friend

Fit for Foodies (115)
Good for a Date (115)
Special Occasion (88)
See All
Good for Birthdays (80)
Creative Cuisine (79)
Good for Anniversaries (69)
Hot Spot (65)
Worth the Drive (65)
Modern Decor (64)
Bar Seating (60)
Good for Groups (56)
Handcrafted Cocktails (56)
Business Meals (55)
Romantic (51)
Fun (48)
Open Kitchen (48)
Neighborhood Gem (45)
Vibrant Bar Scene (41)
Happy Hour (37)
Casual (35)
Local Ingredients (35)
People Watching (31)
Authentic (30)
Notable Wine List (29)
Healthy (29)
Great for Lunch (27)
Seasonal (24)
Cozy (23)
Pre/post Theatre (20)
Late-night Find (13)
Wood Oven (13)
Tasting Menu (13)
Comfort Food (10)
Outstanding Value (10)
Great Beer (10)
Fireplace (8)
Great for Outdoor Dining (8)
Gluten Free Options (7)
Quiet Conversation (7)
Disabled Access (7)
Family Style (7)
Organic (7)
Paleo Friendly (6)
Sunday Lunch (5)
Scenic View (5)
Great for Brunch (5)
Good Vegetarian Options (5)
Tapas (5)
Historic (5)
Kid-friendly (4)
Molecular Gastronomy (3)
Vegan (3)
Private Room (3)
Live Music (2)
Spicy (2)
Live Sports (1)
Waterfront (1)
Quick Bite (1)
Dining Occasion:
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3047 reviews
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This was our first visit to The optimist ...

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined a day ago

This was our first visit to The optimist and we really enjoyed the atmosphere. They have an extensive oyster menu and great fish selections. There isn't a whole lot of seafood outside of fish and oysters, but some appetizers featuring lobster, etc. We will definitely return.

Tags: Good for Birthdays, Happy Hour, Business Meals, Open Kitchen
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

Loved it food was fresh and tasteful!!!

 
 (Tallahassee)·Dined a day ago

Loved it food was fresh and tasteful!!!

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

The scallops were pretty good but the gr ...

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined 2 days ago

The scallops were pretty good but the grits weren't that good.

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food3
ambience5
service4

Excellent service, beautiful setting wit ...

vip
 (Atlanta)·Dined 2 days ago

Excellent service, beautiful setting with great food.

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

It was my first time eating here. I was ...

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined 2 days ago

It was my first time eating here. I was excited as I heard great things. Unfortunately, the potatoes weren't done, even the second batch brought out. The salmon was ok, but definitely not the best I have had.

Cool atmosphere and extremely friendly staff, just disappointed on the food.

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food2
ambience5
service5
value2

Definitely try the fried oysters app.

 
 (New England)·Dined 2 days ago

Definitely try the fried oysters app.

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food4
ambience4
service5
value4

Food was fine-- nothing outstanding but ...

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined 3 days ago

Food was fine-- nothing outstanding but everything quite good. Service was a mess-- we were there on a Thursday, so busy, night. But staff should be trained for that. Drinks were late in arriving, twice. We ordered several small plates and there were not staged, but rather brought at all once, even though the table did not have enough room.

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food3
ambience3
service2
value2

Great food! Prepared with a unique use o ...

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined 3 days ago

Great food! Prepared with a unique use of ingredients that really works. I little pricey but worth the experience.

Tags: Romantic, Good for Anniversaries, Good for a Date, Bar Seating
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food5
ambience5
service4
value4

I've been here a few times now, and have ...

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined 3 days ago

I've been here a few times now, and have enjoyed each meal. The ambience is just right.

Tags: Handcrafted Cocktails, Worth the Drive, Great Beer, Fit for Foodies
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food5
ambience5
service4
value3

This is my go to spot for out-of-town gu ...

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined 3 days ago

This is my go to spot for out-of-town guest . My group consisted of business colleagues from different parts of the country and they were thoroughly impressed. I scored a lot of points by taking them there. kudos to the optimist!

Tags: People Watching, Creative Cuisine, Vibrant Bar Scene, Good for Groups, Worth the Drive, Good for a Date, Special Occasion, Fun, Business Meals, Hot Spot, Fit for Foodies
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

The shrimp with sopping toast is great. ...

vip
 (Atlanta)·Dined 3 days ago

The shrimp with sopping toast is great. The French Fries are the best I have ever eaten.

Tags: Business Meals, Neighborhood Gem, Disabled Access, Great for Lunch
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Optimist continues to please! Outstandi ...

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined 4 days ago

Optimist continues to please! Outstanding entree offerings and top notch Chef preparations. Each item we ordered stood on it's own for perfect presentation, overall taste, and superb flavor. Highly recommend. This is currently our favorite restaurant in Atlanta.

Tags: Worth the Drive, Bar Seating, Hot Spot, People Watching, Creative Cuisine, Vegan
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food5
ambience4
service4
value3

My wife and I dined here for Valentines ...

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined 5 days ago

My wife and I dined here for Valentines Day. We had never been to this place before but based on the reviews we went ahead and booked it. The ambiance wasn't quite what I was expecting...and it was VERY loud, I could barely hear my own waiter...But it was busy so not a big issue. The food however... was less than stellar. They had a 4 course meal that was all that was available 80$ PP. My appetizer was literally.... ONE cracker, with a tiny bit of stuff on it. Seriously. Soup was better and decent size. The main course however... was terrible... I barely finished half, the wife's dish was better but not that great. For that kind of money you would think it would be stellar... it was very very average. I was hugely disappointed.. Oh well lesson learned.

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food1
ambience1
service1
value1

My wife and I went for Valentines day. ...

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined 5 days ago

My wife and I went for Valentines day. It was a preset menu as a four course meal for $80 a person. I thought the place was really packed and the food was average. Half of the items on the preset menu was an additional $15 on top of the $80 per person. I thought the food was really overpriced for what you got but I guess that's because it was Valentines day.

I will say that the servers were very friendly and the staff was very accommodating especially when I asked for them to turn down the music because it was too loud for the occasion. Overall I didn't really enjoy it, but I'll probably go back another night to see if it was just overpriced for Valentines.

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food3
ambience3
service4
value1

Went for Valentine's Day, I'll preface b ...

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined 5 days ago

Went for Valentine's Day, I'll preface by saying I've been here several times and the food has always been great. However on Valentine's they had a fixed price menu. And that wasn't unexpected. What was unexpected was the high cost (80$) and the incredibly meager portions. The soup first course was an espresso sized cup of soup that was barely lukewarm. And since the menu was 4 items that tiny cup was 20$. Furthermore, two items from the entree section had a 20 dollar supplement, which seemed excessive given the already high price of the menu.

Overall I wouldn definitely not return here for Valentine's Day. Instead I'll stick to their regular menu which is much more reasonably priced .

Tags: Bar Seating, Open Kitchen, Creative Cuisine
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food4
ambience4
service3
value2

Had never heard of the restaurant before ...

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined 5 days ago

Had never heard of the restaurant before my search for a new Valentine's Day dinner began. (I try to pick a new restaurant for my wife and I every year and have for the last 25 years or so.) My wife said she had heard good things and I chose it because the good reviews I found. The service was good, the food was EXCELLENT; yes, all caps required. There is a decent wine list and several specialty-of-the-restaurant mixed drinks. Since I am a fan of locally filmed movies and TV series (The Walking Dead being at the top of that list), I naturally gravitated to a drink called, of course, The Walking Dead. Stay away from this drink at all costs! It is horrible.

I thought this was going to throw a cloud over the meal but I could not have been more wrong. The meal was prix fixe for the evening. There were four courses and each course was just as good, OR BETTER, than the previous one. The swordfish I had as a main course could may very well have been the best I have ever had. The only exception might have been a Miami swordfish meal I had over 20 years ago.

Prepare yourself for the neighborhood though. It is about two blocks from Bacchanalia, my wife's favorite Atlanta restaurant. The area is improving day by day and is less than half a mile from the Atlanta water treatment plant. It is growing more "hip" by the day. USE THE VALET PARKING, though. I would not want to leave my car unwatched in this area.

Though this is not the restaurant you want if you are looking for a quiet corner table, if you don't mind a dull conversational roar (high ceilings, no curtains, hard surfaces, but great ambience), this should be your next seafood destination in Atlanta.

Tags: Pre/post Theatre, Good for Anniversaries
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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

The place overall was probably a lot bet ...

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined 5 days ago

The place overall was probably a lot better than the rating I gave but I took my wife for Valentine's Day and we expected to be able to order off their regular menu which we had already looked at online and had an idea of what we wanted to order. Unfortunately we weren't made aware that the only had a "very limited" pre-fix menu for the occasion and absolutely no flexibility. We picked this place specifically because they were one of the few restaurants that didn't have the pre-fix menu requirement online when we booked. Pretty disappointing. The waitress self admittedly said that there best food wasn't on the menu for the night and therefore unavailable.

Tags: Vibrant Bar Scene, Neighborhood Gem, Hot Spot, Modern Decor, Good for a Date
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food4
ambience4
service3
value2

Everything was good except for the fact ...

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined 5 days ago

Everything was good except for the fact that I walked into a price fix menu and was never told that was the case when making my reservation. So I got stuck spending $300 on a dinner that I thought I was going to maybe spend $100 on. I will not be using OpenTable anymore.

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food5
ambience5
service5
value2

Great place. Really enjoyed the food an ...

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined 5 days ago

Great place. Really enjoyed the food and the great service. Chairs were a little uncomfortable but minor issue.

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Awesome warehouse like space. Great food ...

 
 (New Orleans)·Dined 5 days ago

Awesome warehouse like space. Great food but not pretentious. Not overly dressy but still a nice place.

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food5
ambience5
service5

Great Service and food!!

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined 6 days ago

Great Service and food!!

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food5
ambience4
service5

We Make a point of going to the Optimist ...

 
 (Chicago)·Dined 6 days ago

We Make a point of going to the Optimist when we are in Atlanta...excellent food and drink.Terrific service too. ...Shrimp Faro bowl is recommended.

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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

Fantastic food, excellent service. Worth ...

 
 (Memphis)·Dined on February 13, 2017

Fantastic food, excellent service. Worth checking out.

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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

Some of the best seafood I've had in Atl ...

 
 (Greensboro)·Dined on February 13, 2017

Some of the best seafood I've had in Atlanta, including soups, oysters, and variety of fish cooked as you like it. Excellent, knowledgeable waitress.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Open Kitchen, Organic, Good for a Date, Bar Seating, Romantic, Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

My husband and I have wanted to try this ...

vip
 (Atlanta)·Dined on February 13, 2017

My husband and I have wanted to try this restaurant for a while, as we've heard its the best seafood in Atlanta and well, Ford Fry. Our food was fantastic and lived up to the hype, however the service was a little lacking - our server was nice enough but seemed rushed and disinterested. When we asked for recommendations for starters, she named off a few side dishes and when we asked about a particular dish, she started talking about a completely different item. Who knows why she was so spaced out, but when you represent this caliber restaurant and when people pay these prices, I expect a little more. The cocktails were creative, the oysters were fresh and delicious, the she crab soup was very flavorful (although a few shells were found) and the fish entrees were creative and some of the best I've ever had. We'd definitely return, but hope for another server.

Tags: Good for a Date, Handcrafted Cocktails, Seasonal, Creative Cuisine, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience5
service2
value4

Some of the best seafood you're going to ...

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on February 12, 2017

Some of the best seafood you're going to find in Atlanta. Loved everything I tried. I'm a big fan of the setting as well. The large dining room makes it feel as if you are a part of a community.

Tags: Notable Wine List, Special Occasion, Good for Anniversaries, Hot Spot, Handcrafted Cocktails, Worth the Drive, Good for a Date
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

Great food and nice ambience. Came for a ...

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on February 12, 2017

Great food and nice ambience. Came for an early Valentine's Day dinner and had an enjoyable time.

Tags: Business Meals, Creative Cuisine, Good for Groups, Good for a Date, Open Kitchen, Authentic, Good for Birthdays, Sunday Lunch, Worth the Drive, Modern Decor, Romantic, Fit for Foodies, Historic, Special Occasion, Late-night Find
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food4
ambience5
service5
value5

Everything from the food to service was ...

vip
 (Austin)·Dined on February 12, 2017

Everything from the food to service was absolutely superb. I couldn't have been happier with our experience.

Tags: Great Beer, Fit for Foodies, Worth the Drive, Good for Anniversaries, Special Occasion, Business Meals, Good for Birthdays, Hot Spot, Modern Decor,
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

The hush puppies were excellent.

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on February 12, 2017

The hush puppies were excellent.

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food4
ambience4
service4

Attentive wait staff. Reasonable pricin ...

 
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on February 12, 2017

Attentive wait staff. Reasonable pricing for a trendy upscale restaurant. Innovative preparations on seafood. Nice experience overall - would go back

Tags: Seasonal, Hot Spot, Good for Birthdays, Good for Groups
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food4
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Packed as expected for a Saturday night ...

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on February 12, 2017

Packed as expected for a Saturday night before Valentines. Wait with reservation was about 10 minutes. Seating was by the window for 2. Sound was high, but didn't struggle to talk to my wife or wait staff. Started with lobster roll (wasn't present on menu, but waiter said they'd get it ordered) and shrimp la pancha. Lobster roll was excellent, while the shrimp was hard to shell (the sauce was good, but not worth the fuss). Had 3 cocktails total, all were good with East of Eden being the best. My wife had the snapper and I the scallops. As good as my scallops were, I couldn't help but want to steal my wife's perfectly cooks snapper with crispy skin. The roasted brussel sprouts we shared were pretty good too. So for 2 appetizers, 3 cocktails, 2 entrees, and a side we were close to $200 after tip. A good time can add up fast here, but it was for sure a good time.

Tags: Good for a Date
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food5
ambience4
service5
value3

My girlfriend and I chose to dine at The ...

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on February 11, 2017

My girlfriend and I chose to dine at The Optimist as an early valentines date specifically for the oysters. While the oysters were absolutely what we were looking for, the entire experience was incredible. The atmosphere was very cozy and everyone we interacted with was incredibly nice. Jill was our server and gave us one of the best dining experiences we have had in a while! She was very helpful, very knowledgeable and super friendly. The food was incredible, but the service and overall atmosphere is really what made our night.

Tags: Notable Wine List, Good for Birthdays, Special Occasion, Creative Cuisine, Casual, Hot Spot, Good for Anniversaries, Cozy, Good for a Date, Bar Seating, Fit for Foodies, Worth the Drive
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food5
ambience5
service5
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My wife and I live in Columbus, Georgia, ...

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on February 10, 2017

My wife and I live in Columbus, Georgia, and came up to eat at the Optomist before attending the Bon Jovi concert at Phillips Arena. We love the restaurant. One of our favorite things is steamed oysters, so we especially loved the way the Optomist bakes them and serves them. They were so good as was our meal. We will definitely be coming back and I totally recommend this restaurant for date night before the show! Thanks for a great evening. And, the service was excellent as well.

Tags: Modern Decor, Happy Hour, Business Meals, Good for a Date, Pre/post Theatre, Open Kitchen, Kid-friendly, Bar Seating
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Wonderful time. I went with a friend for ...

vip
 (Atlanta)·Dined on February 10, 2017

Wonderful time. I went with a friend for a casual dinner. Great food, great ambiance. Great service. Food was serve promptly

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food5
ambience5
service4
value4

Always a great place with excellent serv ...

vip
 (Atlanta)·Dined on February 9, 2017

Always a great place with excellent service

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food5
ambience5
service5

Excellent seafood and service. Brought t ...

vip
 (Atlanta)·Dined on February 7, 2017

Excellent seafood and service. Brought two friends from Connecticut who raved about the food, server and wine. Will definitely return.

Tags: Bar Seating, Happy Hour, Pre/post Theatre, Notable Wine List, Business Meals, Great for Lunch, Good for Groups, Good for a Date, Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Always a great experience going to the O ...

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on February 6, 2017

Always a great experience going to the Optimist. I had the lobster roll and it was perfect. The roll was sweet and buttery, the lobster wasn't over dressed, and had the perfect amount of dill.

Tags: , Good for a Date, Good for Birthdays, Neighborhood Gem, Hot Spot
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Superb ambience. Stellar menu. We were ...

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on February 5, 2017

Superb ambience. Stellar menu. We were celebrating my sweetie pie's birthday. Had a very romantic dinner. Excellent service staff. The food was amazing!!!

Tags: Good for Anniversaries, Private Room, Organic, Handcrafted Cocktails, Healthy, Good for Birthdays, Modern Decor, Authentic
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Food was outstanding. The place is very ...

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on February 5, 2017

Food was outstanding. The place is very noisy and crowded. The seating is uncomfortable. (just hard wooden chairs) Sometimes that is okay. If you want a quiet romantic dinner then this is not the place.

Tags: Late-night Find, Worth the Drive, Vibrant Bar Scene, Good for Groups, Handcrafted Cocktails, Casual, Creative Cuisine, Local Ingredients, Good for Birthdays, Healthy, Fun, Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience4
service4
value4

The Optimist does not disappoint! The d ...

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on February 5, 2017

The Optimist does not disappoint! The decor is modern and the food is superb! I had the snapper, and it was prepared to perfection. The roasted Brussel sprouts were delectable! I definitely will be retuning!

Tags: Good for Anniversaries, Fit for Foodies, Hot Spot, Good for a Date, Special Occasion, Good for Birthdays, Modern Decor
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food5
ambience5
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value5

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