Nearby points of interest

  1. Distance: 0.38mi
  2. Distance: 0.59mi
  3. Distance: 0.73mi
  4. Distance: 1.44mi
  1. Distance: 0.38mi
  2. Distance: 0.59mi
  3. Distance: 0.73mi
  4. Distance: 1.44mi

Nearby points of interest

  1. Distance: 0.38mi
  2. Distance: 0.59mi
  3. Distance: 0.73mi
  4. Distance: 1.44mi
  1. Distance: 0.38mi
  2. Distance: 0.59mi
  3. Distance: 0.73mi
  4. Distance: 1.44mi

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
View Larger Map

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

4.6

ambience

4.6

value

4.1

noise

Moderate

92% would recommend it to a friend

Special Occasion (151)
Good for a Date (149)
Fit for Foodies (131)
See All
Good for Anniversaries (114)
Creative Cuisine (112)
Good for Birthdays (101)
Fun (92)
Hot Spot (90)
Worth the Drive (88)
Good for Groups (87)
Neighborhood Gem (76)
Handcrafted Cocktails (75)
Bar Seating (70)
Business Meals (70)
Vibrant Bar Scene (60)
Authentic (60)
Local Ingredients (57)
Casual (53)
People Watching (52)
Romantic (49)
Great for Lunch (48)
Happy Hour (47)
Notable Wine List (40)
Great for Outdoor Dining (39)
Modern Decor (32)
Seasonal (31)
Open Kitchen (31)
Sunday Lunch (24)
Pre/post Theatre (23)
Comfort Food (23)
Tasting Menu (21)
Cozy (17)
Live Music (16)
Great Beer (14)
Gluten Free Options (13)
Quiet Conversation (13)
Paleo Friendly (12)
Tapas (12)
Organic (11)
Late-night Find (10)
Great for Brunch (9)
Scenic View (8)
Spicy (8)
Disabled Access (8)
Wood Oven (7)
Good Vegetarian Options (7)
Quick Bite (4)
Vegan (2)
Historic (2)
Fireplace (1)
Family Style (1)
Afternoon Tea (1)
Afternoon Coffee (1)
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3401 reviews
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vip
 (Atlanta)·Dined 3 days ago

We went here on a Sunday evening for a nice anniversary dinner. We have been to the Optimist several times, but our expectations were far surpassed last night. The wait staff, Doug's meal and wine recommendations, dessert, and overall service were second to none. Really, second to none! Have lived in Atlanta now for over a decade and this is by far the best meal I have ever had here. Kudos to the chef, management, and the entire team! We are patrons for life!

P.S. If you have the opportunity, try the fried octopus, the Georges Bank scallops, and the Mexican corn. And if available, the pineapple upside down cake is delectable!

Thanks!

Robert M.

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined 3 days ago

Absolutely the most amazing restaurant me and my wife has ever been to. Okay to start. This was a very special day for us, our 1 Year Marriage anniversary. My wife has been yearning for blackened scallops and pasta for 3 weeks now. So I left a note when I reserved with open table informing this was our anniversary and what my wife had a taste for. They called me the next day to confirm reservation and also told me they will add my wife's item to the menu for her that day. Like WOW. The menu was personalized, Happy Anniversary with her special menu item by her name. Like WOW. We arrived a little early and stopped at the oyster bar and received absolutely amazing service from Asha and the chef at the bar. This was my first time having oysters and after ordering 2 just to try, me and my wife purchased 18 total "roasted oysters" with bread crumbs and butter and garlic. Absolutely amazing. Once 5pm we were seated and served by the greatest waiter of all time Craig. He provided us with tear filling service and my wife and waiter were in tears by the time to go. We were given an anniversary card signed by everyone in the staff and our personalized menu signed by the chefs. Like WOW. The food was amazing and we will be back for sure without a doubt. Countless employees stopped to ask us about our anniversary and everyone was fully aware that we were there, we kinda felt like celebrities. I would recommended this restaurant to everybody and anybody. Love you The Optimist and this is absolutely my favorite restaurant for sure!!

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined 4 days ago

One of the best meals I've had in a long time! Scallops were the best I have ever had!

Tags: Good for Anniversaries, Good for Birthdays, Good for a Date, Special Occasion, Vibrant Bar Scene
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined 4 days ago

Brought our 10 year old twins to celebrate my husband's birthday. Everyone loved the food- although my chocolate-detesting son wished he ordered more squid for dessert instead of the waffle cone ice cream (which contained surprise chocolate chips). A relaxed and delicious evening.

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined 4 days ago

Everything was delicious especially the octopus. Server Brent was amazing and very attentive to us, would highly recommend him.

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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined 5 days ago

All dishes full of surprises and bursting with flavor. Great seafood and small plates. Casual and friendly but professional staff.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Vibrant Bar Scene
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food5
ambience3
service5
value5

vip
 (Atlanta)·Dined 5 days ago

We came for seafood and there was a great variety. Loved the oyster selection and tried my first offering from Nova Scotia! There were so many varieties. We also has Spanish Octopus based on the server recommendation and it was delicious. Loved the overall ambience and the live music outside but conversation was difficult due to the acoustics. Other than that, had a really nice meal.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Comfort Food
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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
·Dined 5 days ago

Excellent restaurant. Food was superb; service was knowledgeable and attentive.

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined 5 days ago

Over priced for the amount of food. Service was great at least.

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food1
ambience2
service4
value1

vip
 (Atlanta)·Dined 6 days ago

I have always loved dining at the Optimist, but tonight, the service I received from Caitlyn was not up to the normal expectations. Everyone enjoyed their entrees.

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food5
ambience5
service1
value4

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined 6 days ago

We certainly picked the right place to celebrate my girlfriend's birthday. Service was amazing, the food was delicious. Special shout out to Kyle for being one of the most courteous, patient servers I've run across. We hadnt see each other in a long time and took some time to catch up, and to order. Thank you!

Tags: Handcrafted Cocktails, Good for Birthdays, Notable Wine List, Vibrant Bar Scene, Worth the Drive, Special Occasion, Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Atlanta)·Dined 7 days ago

Always love dining here, and today was no different. The space is gorgeous, if a bit loud, and the service is wonderful.
We shared the lobster poutine, and some fried oysters, and both were well prepared. However the standout was my blackened fish sandwich. It was delectable

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Savannah)·Dined on July 18, 2017

Our waiter, Craig, was phenomenal!! Very knowledgeable about the menu. Took very good care of us. Food was spectacular!!

Tags: Cozy, Bar Seating, Good for Anniversaries, Notable Wine List, Good for Birthdays, Fun, Romantic, Casual, Great Beer, Authentic, Worth the Drive, Special Occasion, Good for a Date, Quiet Conversation, People Watching, Neighborhood Gem, Hot Spot, Vibrant Bar Scene, Happy Hour, Handcrafted Cocktails
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on July 16, 2017

It is expensive however you get what you pay for. The optimist has great food and great service. I will recommend everyone fine there while in Atlanta.

Tags: Good for a Date, Business Meals, Casual, Pre/post Theatre, Romantic
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Atlanta)·Dined on July 16, 2017

Overpriced.
Small but tasty portions.
Atmosphere too loud to hear conversation
Slow Service. Really disappointed.

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food3
ambience1
service2
value1

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on July 16, 2017

Excellent experience. Creative, thoughtfully prepared dishes. Server enthusiastic, but forgetful (maybe too busy?). Loud, but comfortable. Thank you.

Tags: Casual, Fun, Good for Groups, Special Occasion, Fit for Foodies, Authentic, Worth the Drive, Local Ingredients, Hot Spot, Disabled Access, Creative Cuisine, Good for Birthdays, Vibrant Bar Scene
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food5
ambience5
service4
value4

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on July 16, 2017

The food is absolutely amazing. It is a bit pricey but worth it. I would definitely recommend The Optimist to anyone.

Tags: Handcrafted Cocktails, People Watching, Creative Cuisine, Comfort Food, Good for Birthdays, Good for a Date, Good for Groups, Bar Seating, Great for Outdoor Dining, Good for Anniversaries
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service4
value3

 
 (Dallas)·Dined on July 15, 2017

Great birthday experience for a seafood lover. Dress can vary depending on what you want and a solid place to spend two hours

Tags: Good for Anniversaries, Special Occasion, Fit for Foodies, Good for Birthdays, Handcrafted Cocktails
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on July 15, 2017

The food was fresh and delicious, but everything down to the vegetables was sitting in oil or a heavy sauce. My husband and I ordered calamari as an appetizer, sea bass, lobster roll for entrees and a side of zucchini to share. To pay $32 for a piece of fish sitting on sauce was overpriced. I would have expected to pay under $30. If we try the Optimist again, we plan to each order an appetizer and a salad or better yet, come for the $1 oysters during Happy Hour! Service was excellent.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Happy Hour, Special Occasion
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food4
ambience5
service5
value2

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on July 14, 2017

Amazing!! Some of the best food in Atlanta!! One hundred thumbs up!! The steak- amazing! Mexican street corn- super flavorful! Shrimp appetizer- to die for!!

Tags: Fun, Fit for Foodies, Sunday Lunch, Hot Spot, Vibrant Bar Scene, Scenic View, Live Music
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Washington DC)·Dined on July 14, 2017

Date night with my spouse. We both love fish and this place definitely delivers a great meal centered around seafood. (If you're vegetarian or prefer meat from land animals, this is not a good choice for you.) We had a dozen oysters on the half shell, a striped bass crudo to start and then cioppino and a whole black sea bass. Everything we ate that was supposed to be cooked was perfectly done. The options for wine, beer and cocktails were pretty extensive. We will definitely return for a visit the next time we're in town. The only downside is that the noise level is pretty high.

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food5
ambience4
service5
value5

 
 (Richmond)·Dined on July 14, 2017

Liked a lot about this place. Arrived early so we sat outside and enjoyed some raw oysters and listened to a trio playing. Inside is fun but so loud that even with just two of us I missed half of what my dinner partner was saying. Had roasted oysters inside which were fabulous. Also enjoyed the swordfish and scallops. Both excellent. Also the kale salad. Timing on the service a little off but it was fine since we were busy chatting. Would definitely return.

Tags: Fun, Authentic, Good for a Date
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food4
ambience3
service4
value4

vip
 (Atlanta)·Dined on July 14, 2017

Food was very good as usual. Only negative was the tables are close together and that makes it hard to have a private conversation.

Tags: Hot Spot, Good for Anniversaries, People Watching
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food4
ambience4
service5
value4

vip
 (Atlanta)·Dined on July 13, 2017

Doesn't disappoint!. High energy, great service, incredibly fresh seafood!

Tags: Good for Birthdays, Bar Seating, Good for Groups, Worth the Drive, Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on July 13, 2017

Great drinks and raw bar. The ceviche lacked acid so overall seasoning was lacking. The entree we ordered was the halibut which was dry and bland. It was good, not great. We would have enjoyed our anniversary elsewhere.

Tags: Happy Hour
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food3
ambience4
service4
value3

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on July 13, 2017

Very impressive! Food, service and atmosphere was amazing! If you're in Atlanta, you have to try The Optimist.

Tags: Vibrant Bar Scene, Authentic, Creative Cuisine, Business Meals, Good for Groups, Happy Hour
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on July 12, 2017

I enjoyed my experience here. The raw food was wonderful quality. The service was outstanding. The waitress Ryan was very kind and energetic and added to the experience of it being a special night. I would definitely recommend the optimist. Might be my favorite in Atlanta.

Tags: Sunday Lunch, Bar Seating, Fit for Foodies, Handcrafted Cocktails, Worth the Drive, Good for Anniversaries
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food4
ambience5
service4
value3

 
 (Dallas)·Dined on July 12, 2017

Always good. We enjoy the entire menu. Great drinks. Fun location.

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Charlotte)·Dined on July 11, 2017

the optimist remains one of my favorite places to eat. food is consistently good, service is always excellent. enjoyed every minute

Tags: Fun
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Chicago)·Dined on July 10, 2017

The food and the service were amazing! I was in town for business and I'm bummed I can't come back more often. It was great - definitely, check it out.

Tags: Vibrant Bar Scene, Creative Cuisine, Hot Spot
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Toronto)·Dined on July 10, 2017

Sarah was our waitress & was fabulous! The food was so delicious, our party enjoyed every bite. I would definitely dine @ The Optimist again!!

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Fun, Good for a Date, Sunday Lunch, Good for Anniversaries, Great for Lunch, Hot Spot, Special Occasion, Good for Birthdays, Worth the Drive, Creative Cuisine, Gluten Free Options, Good for Groups, Neighborhood Gem, Authentic
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Denver)·Dined on July 9, 2017

Great place and great fun

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food5
ambience5
service5

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on July 9, 2017

Went with a friend from college to celebrate my birthday. The food was amazing as well as the service. The place had a great ambiance and nice views of the city. Would highly recommend to friends and family.

Tags: Good for Groups, Bar Seating, Hot Spot, Good for Birthdays, Scenic View, Good for a Date
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food4
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (E. Tennessee)·Dined on July 9, 2017

Great for a birthday celebration! Unique and interesting flavors and dishes. We enjoyed everything we had! Was a bit on the loud side, but the restaurant is very neat and nautical!

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Good for Anniversaries, Fit for Foodies, Notable Wine List, Good for Birthdays, Special Occasion, Good for a Date
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food4
ambience4
service5
value3

vip
 (Las Vegas)·Dined on July 9, 2017

The bread and appetizers ( tuna poke,octopus, and beet salad) were really good. The drinks were decent. The entrees were disappointing. 2 of us had the swordfish, it was way over cooked and dry. 2 people had the scallops, which didn't have much taste but were plated in a very nice sauce. Deserts were fine. This place gets great reviews, so maybe it was an off night.

Tags: People Watching, Neighborhood Gem
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food3
ambience3
service4
value3

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on July 9, 2017

Great, quality food

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food5
ambience5
service4
value4

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on July 8, 2017

Top notch seafood! Unbelievable flavor combinations, and they even accommodated our two children!

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food5
ambience5
service5

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on July 8, 2017

Loved our waitress, Adriana--Quite knowledgeable. Friendly. Assertive. Attentive. Should be proud to have such greast staff.. Would definitely visit again..

Olivier and Candis Lazarre

Tags: Vegan, Special Occasion, Tasting Menu, Sunday Lunch, Cozy, Hot Spot, Business Meals, Seasonal, Authentic, Quick Bite, Happy Hour, Paleo Friendly, Local Ingredients, Great for Brunch, Organic, Creative Cuisine
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on July 8, 2017

We were with good friends visiting from San Francisco who have regular business meetings in ATL, but had not been to The Optimist before --- you've got yourself some new customers!

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Creative Cuisine
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food5
ambience4
service5
value5

 
 (Salt Lake City)·Dined on July 8, 2017

Food was unique and well prepared. The server was very familiar with the menu and attentive to our group. Being a foodie, I really enjoyed the presentations and variety of menu offerings.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Tasting Menu, Tapas, Business Meals, Casual, Local Ingredients
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value5

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