About The Optimist

914 Howell Mill Rd.
Atlanta, GA 30318
View Larger Map

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.

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, 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.

Restaurant Photos

Report a photo problem

The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA
The Optimist, Atlanta, GA

Specials

Valentine's Day Special Menus & More

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Specials

Valentine's Day Special Menus & More

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Details

Please join us for our $80/person, four course prix fixe menu, courtesy of Chef Craig Richards.

The Optimist Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

4.7

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.5

service

4.5

ambience

4.5

value

4.1

noise

Moderate

94% would recommend it to a friend

Good for a Date (103)
Fit for Foodies (96)
Special Occasion (75)
See All
Creative Cuisine (67)
Good for Anniversaries (59)
Good for Birthdays (58)
Worth the Drive (58)
Good for Groups (51)
Modern Decor (51)
Hot Spot (50)
Business Meals (49)
Handcrafted Cocktails (46)
Bar Seating (45)
Romantic (44)
Fun (42)
Open Kitchen (38)
Neighborhood Gem (36)
Local Ingredients (35)
Vibrant Bar Scene (35)
Happy Hour (34)
Casual (33)
People Watching (27)
Notable Wine List (26)
Cozy (25)
Authentic (25)
Healthy (22)
Seasonal (21)
Great for Lunch (19)
Pre/post Theatre (14)
Tasting Menu (13)
Outstanding Value (11)
Comfort Food (11)
Tapas (10)
Quiet Conversation (10)
Wood Oven (9)
Organic (8)
Paleo Friendly (8)
Sunday Lunch (8)
Gluten Free Options (8)
Fireplace (8)
Late-night Find (7)
Great for Outdoor Dining (7)
Disabled Access (6)
Great for Brunch (6)
Great Beer (6)
Family Style (6)
Good Vegetarian Options (5)
Molecular Gastronomy (4)
Private Room (4)
Kid-friendly (3)
Spicy (3)
Live Music (3)
Scenic View (3)
Historic (3)
Waterfront (2)
Live Sports (2)
Quick Bite (2)
Dancing (1)
Vegan (1)
Dining Occasion:
S
Sort By:
S
2942 reviews
Loading Reviews ...

I always say, that a restaurant that kno ...

vip
 (Raleigh)·Dined 20 hours ago

I always say, that a restaurant that knows how to cook fish right, has a talented chef in the kitchen.

The Swordfish cook with the duck fat was awesome. My wife got the tuna. She was in heaven. Living and growing up on the Outer Banks, we get our share of fish. But, having it cooked right is another matter.

Great job chef! Great job to our waiter and the wine expert.

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

Very good meal and great service! Their ...

 
 (Washington DC)·Dined 2 days ago

Very good meal and great service! Their seafood was delicious.

Tags: Open Kitchen, Good for a Date, Business Meals, Authentic, Local Ingredients, Neighborhood Gem
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

The Optimist is an excellent fine dining ...

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined 2 days ago

The Optimist is an excellent fine dining restaurant and we dine there a few times a year. The menu changes slowly and everything on it is wonderful. We especially like the poke and duck fat poached swordfish. Service is excellent. Wine selections are diverse and fairly priced. Ambience is a bit like a warehouse and not suitable for intimate conversation.

Tags: Worth the Drive, Creative Cuisine, Notable Wine List, Special Occasion, Handcrafted Cocktails, Good for a Date, Modern Decor
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value4

Service was phenomenal. Food was creativ ...

vip
 (Chicago)·Dined 3 days ago

Service was phenomenal. Food was creative and delicious. Atmosphere was great. A little on the loud side but it did not matter.

Tags: Modern Decor, People Watching, Creative Cuisine, Vibrant Bar Scene, Open Kitchen, Special Occasion, Fit for Foodies
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value4

While we had to wait for our table, they ...

vip
 (Atlanta)·Dined 4 days ago

While we had to wait for our table, they brought us a starter to apologize. Service was best I've experienced here. Food outstanding.

Tags: Good for a Date, Local Ingredients
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value4

Lunch time-Seafood chowder was watery a ...

vip
 (Atlanta)·Dined 4 days ago

Lunch time-Seafood chowder was watery and oily. Hardly any seafood in it.

Fish sandwich was flounder; not much flavor to it. Very disappointing.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food2
ambience4
service4
value3

Birthday lunch

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined 4 days ago

Birthday lunch

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

Went for the oyster happy hour and then ...

 
 (New York Area)·Dined 5 days ago

Went for the oyster happy hour and then stayed for dinner. Great place, delicious food !

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

Fantástico

vip
 (Atlanta)·Dined 6 days ago

Fantástico

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

The Optimist was the best meal we had al ...

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined 6 days ago

The Optimist was the best meal we had all week in Atlanta, and we went to several excellent restaurants. Wonderful mix of flavors in the kale salad and monk fish entree. Loved the atmosphere and hope to come back on a warmer day when the patio with mini golf is open.

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

The chicken was not as great as I hoped. ...

vip
 (Atlanta)·Dined on January 9, 2017

The chicken was not as great as I hoped. The rest of the food items were delicious.

The service was good, but not exceptional.

The decor is outstanding!

Tags: Fit for Foodies
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service3
value4

Have been to the Optimist many times and ...

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on January 8, 2017

Have been to the Optimist many times and will continue to eat here. The food is superb and the atmosphere/service is amazing

Tags: Healthy, Bar Seating, Organic, Fit for Foodies, Good for a Date, Special Occasion, Romantic, Open Kitchen, Handcrafted Cocktails, Happy Hour, Good for Anniversaries, Seasonal, Local Ingredients, Notable Wine List, Creative Cuisine, Worth the Drive
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Perfect place to take my partner for his ...

 
 (Tallahassee)·Dined on January 5, 2017

Perfect place to take my partner for his Birthday!

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Neighborhood Gem, Modern Decor, Fun
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Excellent all around Fantastic food, ser ...

 
 (Miami)·Dined on January 5, 2017

Excellent all around

Fantastic food, service and quality

Tags: Hot Spot, Worth the Drive, Happy Hour, Good for a Date
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Great experience

 
 (Phoenix)·Dined on January 5, 2017

Great experience

Tags: People Watching, Romantic, Cozy
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience5
service5
value4

Great place. Entrees were delayed but th ...

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on January 5, 2017

Great place. Entrees were delayed but the server recovered quickly sending out an amuse to hold us over. Well done!!!

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service5

The Optimist is heaven for seafood lover ...

vip
 (Atlanta)·Dined on January 4, 2017

The Optimist is heaven for seafood lovers. Fish expertly prepared attentive service, delicious cocktails–– all in a wonderfully welcoming environment.

Plates of perfection. Go!

Tags: Good for a Date, Vibrant Bar Scene, Fit for Foodies
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value4

I took a client for lunch today. The res ...

vip
 (Atlanta)·Dined on January 4, 2017

I took a client for lunch today. The restaurant has a good modern and sophisticated vibe. However, the music was somewhat loud for regular conversation. I could barely hear the client that I was sitting next to. We ordered salads and the lobster roll - they were great! I would have ordered appetizers but there weren't very many items on the appetizer menu that looked good and/or that looked good for sharing with a client so we didn't order them. Service was lacking. Our server was sweet but took forever to greet our table, take our order and pick-up our check. Look I get it - people on a business lunch are talking and you don't want to interrupt them but they're also in for a quick lunch. It took me 20 minutes to get there from my office and 20 minutes to get back. We were there for almost 2 hours. I can't take 3 hour lunches everyday. Its these types of lengthy service times that make people not want to venture outside of their office.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience2
service2
value4

I've been here multiple times. 2 years a ...

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on January 3, 2017

I've been here multiple times. 2 years ago I had my birthday dinner here and so once my husband moved to Atlanta I took him here for his birthday. He and I both loved the La Plancha for a starter. We also overdosed on their Brussel sprouts. Who knew they could taste that good. The drinks were phenomenal and a great place to people watch. We loved the ambiance and the service was warm and welcoming. We'll definitely go again.

Tags: Fun, Open Kitchen, People Watching, Pre/post Theatre, Handcrafted Cocktails, Bar Seating, Special Occasion, Good for a Date, Cozy, Good for Anniversaries, Romantic, Great for Lunch, Hot Spot, Good for Birthdays, Business Meals, Vibrant Bar Scene, Modern Decor
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Open design of eating area.

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on January 2, 2017

Open design of eating area.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food3
ambience4
service3

New Years Eve dinner

 
 (Washington DC)·Dined on January 1, 2017

New Years Eve dinner

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value4

Food was outstanding! Waiter was very at ...

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on December 31, 2016

Food was outstanding! Waiter was very attentive. Great place for a special night out !

Tags: Good for a Date, Creative Cuisine
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value5

The Optimist is by far my favorite resta ...

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on December 31, 2016

The Optimist is by far my favorite restaurant in Atlanta. I love the feel and the mood as it's relaxed yet upscale. The food is AMAZING, from the rolls to La Plancha-yum! I went here for NYE and was a little taken back by the set menu as some of my fave's were missing but I understand that many restaurants do a set menu for the holiday. The service was great and we enjoyed our time as always.

Tags: Fireplace, Business Meals, Good for Groups, Cozy, Good for Anniversaries, Modern Decor, Romantic, Wood Oven
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

A good way to start New Years Eve; servi ...

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on December 31, 2016

A good way to start New Years Eve; service is always great, nuce

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food3
ambience4
service4

The Restauarant was okay. I was a bit fr ...

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on December 31, 2016

The Restauarant was okay. I was a bit frustrated that we went on New Years Eve and they did not have the entire menu available. We were looking forward to trying items recommended by our friends. Was busy, but an okay experience.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food3
ambience2
service3
value1

We always have the best experience at Th ...

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on December 31, 2016

We always have the best experience at The Optimist, Shaun was a great Server we hope to sit with him again

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

Great food and service

 
 (New Orleans)·Dined on December 31, 2016

Great food and service

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

Was really looking forward to this dinne ...

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on December 31, 2016

Was really looking forward to this dinner, in town with my son for the Peach Bowl. Arrived early and table wasn't ready so we had drinks and a dozen oysters at the oyster bar. Best part of the night. Service was efficient, oyster selection was excellent, drinks well-prepared, prices reasonable. Dinner in main dining room featured overwhelming noise, painfully slow service, and an indifferent waiter. Gumbo good, nothing special, waited several minutes for a spoon. Kale salad was indistinguishable from one you can get from from any higher end restaurant. The cobia tartare was good, the tuna poke was very good. My son enjoyed his smoked fish chowder and swordfish, but he can be effusive in his praise, but was not in this case. Would eat there again, especially in the oyster bar, but would not go out of my way.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service3

Great food and GREAT service. Our waitre ...

 
 (Las Vegas)·Dined on December 30, 2016

Great food and GREAT service. Our waitress Andi was FANTASTIC and I was tempted to come back every weekend just to have her wait on us. Haha! Great food and great atmosphere. We loved it!

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value4

This is the 7th or 8th time we have dine ...

vip
 (Atlanta)·Dined on December 29, 2016

This is the 7th or 8th time we have dined here. I'm done coming at night. The lights were so low that it was next to impossible to read the menu. The place was packed (good for them) including what appeared to be an after-work office gathering. it was simply too f-ing loud. Server said the She-crab soup was new to the menu.....in fact, it has been on the menu ever since they opened. While it may have been off during the summer, it is not "new".

Want to sit at the raw bar and have some oysters? Great Place for that. Want a great lunch? Ditto. I simply can no longer recommend it at night.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience2
service3
value3

Enjoyed Dinner. Lobster Rolls a must hav ...

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on December 29, 2016

Enjoyed Dinner. Lobster Rolls a must have ! Definitely will come back

Tags: Good for Anniversaries, Hot Spot, Good for Groups, Modern Decor
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service3
value5

Excellent meal and Service as always! I ...

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on December 29, 2016

Excellent meal and Service as always! I will definitely return.

Tags: Great for Lunch, Good for Anniversaries, Fun
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Great seafood, cocktails and wine. A bi ...

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on December 28, 2016

Great seafood, cocktails and wine. A bit too noisy for much convo.

Tags: Handcrafted Cocktails, Worth the Drive, People Watching, Vibrant Bar Scene, Fit for Foodies, Seasonal
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience3
service4
value4

Good but not exciting

vip
 (Atlanta)·Dined on December 28, 2016

Good but not exciting

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food3
ambience3
service3
value3

We took our friends with us before a tec ...

vip
 (Atlanta)·Dined on December 28, 2016

We took our friends with us before a tech basketball game. The food was all very fresh, very well prepared and presented. Oysters were fabulous. Liked the home made cracker for oysters and for the soup. I had smoked fish chowder and octopus. Loved both. Red fish was really outstanding. Beets too. Our friends had never been and cant wait to return.

Tags: Pre/post Theatre, Worth the Drive, Creative Cuisine
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service4
value4

I love this restaurant. The service, foo ...

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on December 28, 2016

I love this restaurant. The service, food and atmosphere is great! I am a big fan of oysters and they had run out of the kind I usually get by the time I got there but I still enjoyed another type of oyster. My server was very knowledgeable and helped me make choices on menu options. This is DEFINITELTY a go to for dates or just a night out.

Tags: Vibrant Bar Scene, , Happy Hour
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

My first time at OPTIMIST(JCT is one of ...

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on December 27, 2016

My first time at OPTIMIST(JCT is one of my FAVORITES).

Love the big open space. Food was great.Looking forward to returning.

Tags: Good for Groups, Great for Brunch, Good for Anniversaries, Kid-friendly, Vibrant Bar Scene, Special Occasion, Neighborhood Gem, Casual, Bar Seating, Hot Spot
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Friends and I meet every year there for ...

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on December 27, 2016

Friends and I meet every year there for the holidays. Just wonderful!!

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

We always love the food at the Optimist. ...

vip
 (Atlanta)·Dined on December 27, 2016

We always love the food at the Optimist. There always seems to be something new to try as well as their unique staples that are always on the menu.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value4

Service was unusually slow. Portions ar ...

 
 (Savannah)·Dined on December 27, 2016

Service was unusually slow.

Portions are very small compared to the price being charged.

Good choices for the oysters

Liked the oysters.

If a friend is looking for good seafood place will recommend it but warn them about price and portions.

Tags: Creative Cuisine
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience3
service2
value2

Report this review as inappropriate?

If you believe this review should be removed from OpenTable, please let us know and someone will investigate.