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
The Optimist
The Optimist
The Optimist
lobster roll
Mussels
She Crab Soup
Georgia Bank Scallops
Mahi Mahi
Peel and Eat Shrimp
Oysters on the Half Shell
Apple Cider Donuts
Sweet Potato
Chocolate Bread Pudding
Rockey Road Bread Pudding
Cold Snap
Grilled Octopus With Crispy Potatoes, Chorizo, And Herbs
basmati “fried rice,” smoked fish, curry, crushed peanuts, egg
Red Snapper
Apple Cheesecake W/ Caramel And Bourbon Whipped Cream
Shrimp A La Plancha In Arbol Chili Lime Broth
Fried Oyster Salad
NC Snapper with Bok Choy and Okra
Marinated Beets with Smoked Beet Yogurt and Coriander
Gulf Grouper
Mussels in Green Curry.
Fried Clam Roll
Black Grouper
Carrots
Lobster Roll With Seafood Gumbo
Deep Fried Oysters
Fried Long Beans
Donuts, Corn Ice Cream, Red Pepper Jam
Old Salty Dog
Gulf Grouper, Roasted Beets
White Train
Fish and Chips
Salt Crusted Caramel Icecream
Basmati Fried Rice
Peach Tart With Vanilla Ice Cream
Hushpuppies
Corn Milk Hushpuppies, Beignet Style
Oyster Sampler
Halibut Fried In Duck Fat
Scallops
The Cutty Shark
Angels on Horseback
Grilled Pound Cake Sundae
Swordfish Braised In Duckfat
Dark Chocolate Mousse
Apple Buckle
Fried Soft Shell Crab
Charred Octopus
Flounder
East Coast Oysters
GA Shrimp a la plancha
Whole Flounder
Savannah Style Beignets
Whole Ga White Shrimp A La Plancha
Warm Chocolate Cassoulet
Seared Tuna With Grilled Octopus
Fried Blueberry Pie With Buttermilk Sherbet
Fish House Punch
Seared Octopus
Onset
Oyster Sampler Accompaniments.
Basmati “Fried Rice”
Butter Burger
fried oysters
salmon, wood-roasted beets, smoked egg, horseradish, apple
Flounder with butternut squash puree
Oysters
Little Gem salad
Lobster Cobb Salad
Shrimp A La Plancha
Raats Chenin Blanc Wine
Key Lime Pie
Shrimp a Plancha
corn milk hushpuppies, “beignet style,” with cane syrup butter
whole white shrimp a la plancha, “sopping” toast, arbol chile, lime
raw oysters
Frothy She-Crab Soup
Argula Salad
Wood Roasted Beets
Brussel sprouts
Shoestring Fries
Yeast Rolls
Grilled Octopus
Grilled Cobia
Blackened  Mahi Mahi Sandwich
Garlicky Tiny Clams & Pork Belly
Festive Fall Punch
Peach Cobbler
Brussle Sprouts
Charred Spanish Octopus
Birthday Drink
Blackened Grouper Sandwich
Sundae With Coconut Ice Cream
Champagne Punch
Salad Nicoise

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

value

4.0

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 (245)
special occasion (184)
hot spot (141)
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good for groups (127)
neighborhood gem (117)
vibrant bar scene (87)
romantic (85)
great for lunch (65)
notable wine list (58)
great for outdoor dining (32)
late-night find (22)
great for brunch (15)
scenic view (10)
kid-friendly (8)
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2575 reviews
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Dishes were well prepared and tasteful t ...

 
 (Los Angeles)
·Dined 2 days ago

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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food4
ambience3
service3

The valets are overwhelmed. The main din ...

 
 (Atlanta)
·Dined 3 days ago

The valets are overwhelmed. The main dining room, if busy, is VERY loud. And the bartenders were condescending and inattentive.

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food4
ambience2
service3

Great burgers for lunch!

vip
 (Atlanta)
·Dined 3 days ago

Great burgers for lunch!

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food5
ambience5
service5

It was my daughter's first time at the O ...

 
 (Atlanta)
·Dined 5 days ago

It was my daughter's first time at the Optimist. She wanted to go for her birthday and she loved it. The starters were unique and tastefully prepared. the wine and cocktails were great. We enjoyed ourselves very much and definitely will be back.

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Decided to try The Optimist to celebrate ...

 
 (Atlanta)
·Dined on July 22, 2016

Decided to try The Optimist to celebrate my husband's birthday. The food and service were both excellent! A bit pricy, but great for special occasions. We'll be back!

Tags: fit for foodies, special occasion, great for lunch
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

Wonderful service and amazing food.

 
 (Atlanta)
·Dined on July 22, 2016

Wonderful service and amazing food.

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food5
ambience5
service5

The Optimist is one of our favorite rest ...

vip
 (Atlanta)
·Dined on July 22, 2016

The Optimist is one of our favorite restaurants in Atlanta along with many of the other Ford Fry restaurants. The oysters are awesome, and all of the flavors are unique and delicious. We will be back soon.

Tags: great for brunch, fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, great for lunch, late-night find, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

This place has wonderful food. For the m ...

 
 (Atlanta)
·Dined on July 21, 2016

This place has wonderful food. For the most part the staff was friendly. The waiter was skepitcal when he saw four African Americans not knowing this wasn't our first Optimist experience; slightly nervous but everything turned out great on both ends.

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
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food5
ambience5
service4
value5

We had a nice lunch here to celebrate a ...

vip
 (Atlanta)
·Dined on July 21, 2016

We had a nice lunch here to celebrate a friend's birthday. We got the lobster Cobb salad and the green salad with fried oysters and both were delicious. We split a piece of raspberry lemonade pie which was different and really good. I've been here before when the restaurant was really noisy, but it was pleasant this time. Great décor.

Tags: fit for foodies, special occasion, great for lunch, hot spot
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

The oysters were delicious as was the sm ...

 
 (Atlanta)
·Dined on July 21, 2016

The oysters were delicious as was the smoked fish chowder and the hush puppies were unreal. The ambience was laid back and relatively quiet. A great place for dinner with a special someone or a girls night out.

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food5
ambience5
service5

Great service! Its all about the lobster ...

vip
 (Atlanta)
·Dined on July 20, 2016

Great service! Its all about the lobster roll!

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food5
ambience5
service5

The restaurant has a very unique atmosph ...

 
 (Atlanta)
·Dined on July 19, 2016

The restaurant has a very unique atmosphere and the food is fabulous! Our server had a great personality and he knew the menu well. Attentiveness to our table was lacking, however it appeared that our server was given a very large party, which required all of his attention. I had a difficult time hearing all of the menu suggestions due to the noise level. Overall, a great experience!

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food5
ambience5
service2

Great food, great service! Love this pla ...

 
 (Atlanta)
·Dined on July 19, 2016

Great food, great service! Love this place

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food5
ambience5
service5

Very good seafood place. Great for speci ...

 
 (Wilmington)
·Dined on July 18, 2016

Very good seafood place. Great for special occasions/birthdays.

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot
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food5
ambience5
service4
value4

Everything is always delicious and the s ...

 
 (Atlanta)
·Dined on July 18, 2016

Everything is always delicious and the service is always great. Love the vibe and atmosphere.

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food5
ambience5
service5

A great oyster bar in the middle of Atla ...

 
 (Atlanta)
·Dined on July 16, 2016

A great oyster bar in the middle of Atlanta. And the rest of their menu is great too. If you have the chance you should go try it.

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

Everything is right about this restauran ...

vip
 (Atlanta)
·Dined on July 16, 2016

Everything is right about this restaurant--the vibe, the food, and the service. Every time I come back, I can't wait to come again. I have never been disappointed. Parking would be it's only slight downside--valet for a fee.

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

Outstanding food and service! The Optimi ...

 
 (Atlanta)
·Dined on July 15, 2016

Outstanding food and service! The Optimist team really cares about their customers and their overall experience.

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food5
ambience5
service5

Unfortunately, overall we did not have a ...

 
 (Atlanta)
·Dined on July 15, 2016

Unfortunately, overall we did not have a good experience. My appetizer, the peel and eat shrimp, was super coated with seasoning, I could barely taste it. The sides we ordered (okra, beet salad and potatoes) were also too salty or over seasoned. I did like the Amberjack and my husband liked the scallops but that was about it. Our server was friendly and personable.

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food2
ambience4
service4
value3

Amazing food and great atmosphere! One o ...

 
 (Aberdeen)
·Dined on July 15, 2016

Amazing food and great atmosphere! One of my fav places.

Tags: great for brunch, fit for foodies, great for lunch
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

First time at Optimist - friendly staff, ...

 
 (Atlanta)
·Dined on July 15, 2016

First time at Optimist - friendly staff, seated right away. Read about the Lobster Roll online. It was good, lots of fries and good portions of lobster.

Maybe could serve a basket of bread while waiting for meal to arrive? We will be back!

Tags: good for groups, special occasion, great for lunch
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food4
ambience4
service5
value3

Wonderful as always!

 
 (Atlanta)
·Dined on July 14, 2016

Wonderful as always!

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food5
ambience5
service5

Arrived in time for happy hour at the Oy ...

vip
 (Greensboro)
·Dined on July 14, 2016

Arrived in time for happy hour at the Oyster Bar! Started off with $1 oysters from a great selection from PEI; MA, SC also some great FishCamp Punch.

We moved on to the dining room and shared an awesome appetizer of WHOLE GA SHRIMP A LA PLANCHA, “sopping” toast, arbol chile butter, lime / 15. (messy, but worth it!) And it was worth it!!

The dinner rolls are also awesome topped with butter and sea salt then toasted.

Jack had a wonderful snapper with fried potatoes laced with sour cream and chives.

I had an a wonderful SKUNA BAY SALMON, almond meuniere, corn puree / 29. All was prepared to perfection!

Kyle did a great job and the manager took great care to see that we had a great experience. Thanks to all for a total experience! You don't have to be an optimist to enjoy The Optimist!

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food5
ambience4
service5

Fish and chips needed a side other than ...

 
 (Atlanta)
·Dined on July 14, 2016

Fish and chips needed a side other than fries. Very little meat and too much breading.

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, great for lunch, hot spot, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
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food3
ambience5
service5
value3

Our server was great, very very funny. F ...

vip
 (Philadelphia)
·Dined on July 12, 2016

Our server was great, very very funny. Food was good. The lobster roll wasn't that good but we had a great time and will be back for sure

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, vibrant bar scene
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food5
ambience4
service5
value5

We had an excellent experience. Our wai ...

 
 (Atlanta)
·Dined on July 10, 2016

We had an excellent experience. Our waitress, service provider, was excellent. Her name was Pica, she was knowledgeable, made honest recommendations, was friendly, knew the difference between being overly helpful and just helpful. Ask for her

Tags: fit for foodies, hot spot, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

Loved the mussels! We had the special of ...

vip
 (Atlanta)
·Dined on July 9, 2016

Loved the mussels! We had the special of the night, redfish, which was cooked perfectly. Great cocktails and wine list.

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food5
ambience3
service3
value3

It's not cheap but I've been there twice ...

vip
 (Atlanta)
·Dined on July 9, 2016

It's not cheap but I've been there twice and both times I felt like I got my money's worth. A lot of restaurants have dishes with various ingredients but they just don't play well together or are just weird... not so here. The balance of flavors is terrific, the dish knows exactly what it wants to taste like, nothing is overpowering anything else, they all work together. The wine by the glass selection is very good also.

Tags: fit for foodies, notable wine list
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

The waitress had amazing service, evenin ...

 
 (New York Area)
·Dined on July 8, 2016

The waitress had amazing service, evening providing four extra oysters free of charge from a very minor mistake she made when telling us about the menu. Great thing is that this is my second visit and both times were equally as enjoyable. I'm looking forward to going there again! Also makes great wine recommendations!

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food4
ambience5
service5

Great seafood, excellent service... I ...

 
 (Atlanta)
·Dined on July 8, 2016

Great seafood, excellent service... I wanted to try everything on the menu. We started with the mussels (which were exceptionally delicious) and fried oysters. They alone set the tone for what turned out to be a fantastic dinning experience. I can't wait to go back!

Tags: fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Had been here before and enjoyed it so w ...

 
 (Atlanta)
·Dined on July 6, 2016

Had been here before and enjoyed it so went back to celebrate daughter's 20th birthday. Went on a weekday night. Restaurant not full. Able to sit immediately but are offered the worst table in the place even though plenty of others available. Changing table is possible but not without seeming like the request is unheard of.

Food was fair. Chef was using pepper like it's a substitute for protein. Portions are nice but definitely not generous. Other tables got a complimentary birthday dessert but not us.

As far as drinks, my draught beer came in a 10 oz glass...really? Wife's bottled Corona had 2 oz of beer left in bottle after same glass was filled.

Maybe they just had an off night but for those prices I can go to a restaurant that more than likely won't.

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food3
ambience4
service3
value2

Service was excellent. Lively atmosphere ...

vip
 (Atlanta)
·Dined on July 5, 2016

Service was excellent. Lively atmosphere. Great bread, great dessert. Nice wine. Menu interesting, tasty dishes but on the salty side. Chairs are very uncomfortable.

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, hot spot
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food4
ambience5
service5
value4

This is a must dine place in Atlanta. N ...

 
 (Milwaukee)
·Dined on July 5, 2016

This is a must dine place in Atlanta. Never disappoints.

Tags: fit for foodies, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Energetic, fun, lively, noisy, great oys ...

 
 (Atlanta)
·Dined on July 3, 2016

Energetic, fun, lively, noisy, great oysters, fair wine list (they were out of Napa Chenin Blanc!), good wait staff, delicious entree - scallops. Orders were taken promptly and food arrive hot and on time. Definitely will return

Tags: fit for foodies, special occasion, hot spot
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food5
ambience4
service4
value4

The food was excellent

 
 (Seattle)
·Dined on July 3, 2016

The food was excellent

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food5
ambience4
service5

My wife and I celebrated our 23 year ann ...

 
 (Atlanta)
·Dined on July 2, 2016

My wife and I celebrated our 23 year anniversary - waitress was excellent and attentive.

Food was excellent as well - certainly recommend restaurant at my Hotel.

Thanks again for a memorable dinner

Tags: special occasion
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Amazing food! The shrimp were messy but ...

 
 (New Orleans)
·Dined on July 1, 2016

Amazing food! The shrimp were messy but so good. The grouper and scallops were great

Tags: fit for foodies
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

A well-deserved reputation as an amazing ...

 
 (Atlanta)
·Dined on July 1, 2016

A well-deserved reputation as an amazing seafood restaurant. The best burger in town. Love coming here for long Friday lunches with friends as I work nearby. Great atmosphere, great service, and excellent food. Highly recommended.

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, great for lunch, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

The food was everything and more than we ...

 
 (Atlanta)
·Dined on June 30, 2016

The food was everything and more than we could've ever hoped. My husband and I started with the Shrimp a la plancha and boy did the description fit it to a tee..."messy, but worth it." The shrimp were delicious but the bread underneath soaked in the spicy sauce might've been the best part. My husband ordered the duck fat poached swordfish and needless to say he left nothing on the plate. He was nice enough to share some of the pork belly and oh my goodness, it melted in your mouth and finished with the most familiar and scrumptious bacony, pork flavor. I ordered the New York Strip, which was as melt in your mouth good as the pork belly. All of our food was divine and the service was top-notch as well.

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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

This was my first time dining at The Opt ...

 
 (Atlanta)
·Dined on June 28, 2016

This was my first time dining at The Optimist, the ambiance was great, the food was great, but our service was very lackluster. When we first sat down a young lady came by and provided the drinks and took our orders while giving great input about the menu. She said our waiter Kyle would be right with us. So Kyle finally makes an appearance refills our water but does not speak. Then he provides us with bread, still no dialogue. We observed him as he waited on other tables and he was very chatty and attentive. Finally after our food arrives he asks how it was....ok. Food was great, service not so much.

Tags: kid-friendly, fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
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food5
ambience5
service1
value5

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