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
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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

4.6

ambience

4.6

value

4.1

noise

Moderate

93% would recommend it to a friend

Special Occasion (135)
Good for a Date (134)
Fit for Foodies (122)
See All
Creative Cuisine (112)
Good for Anniversaries (91)
Good for Birthdays (87)
Worth the Drive (81)
Modern Decor (80)
Hot Spot (79)
Bar Seating (75)
Open Kitchen (73)
Handcrafted Cocktails (72)
Neighborhood Gem (70)
Romantic (66)
Fun (63)
Good for Groups (59)
Business Meals (57)
Vibrant Bar Scene (56)
Authentic (49)
Casual (48)
Local Ingredients (43)
Great for Lunch (42)
Notable Wine List (41)
Healthy (41)
People Watching (38)
Happy Hour (37)
Great for Outdoor Dining (33)
Pre/post Theatre (22)
Seasonal (22)
Wood Oven (21)
Comfort Food (18)
Great Beer (17)
Cozy (14)
Tasting Menu (14)
Late-night Find (12)
Live Music (12)
Paleo Friendly (12)
Sunday Lunch (12)
Kid-friendly (9)
Great for Brunch (9)
Scenic View (9)
Disabled Access (9)
Organic (8)
Tapas (7)
Quiet Conversation (6)
Quick Bite (6)
Spicy (6)
Gluten Free Options (6)
Good Vegetarian Options (5)
Outstanding Value (5)
Historic (4)
Family Style (4)
Fireplace (3)
Vegan (2)
Molecular Gastronomy (2)
Afternoon Coffee (1)
Private Room (1)
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3252 reviews
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 (Atlanta)·Dined 3 days ago

Service was awful. It took forever to be waiting on. They screwed up my drink order. Mixed up the orders when they served us our apoetizers. Tried to make things right by serving an awful kale salad that was too spicy to eat. Then a very long delay before the main course was served. Too loud.
Food was average. Won't go back.

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food4
ambience3
service2
value3

 
 (Washington DC)·Dined 3 days ago

The Optimist is one of the best restaurants in Atlanta.

Tags: Notable Wine List, Creative Cuisine, Special Occasion, Local Ingredients, Casual, Good for a Date, Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Atlanta)·Dined 3 days ago

We thoroughly enjoyed our dinner at The Optimist. The Octopus appetizer was so good we asked for the recipe/technique and the chef actually gave us a written recipe for this dish. Our main course of Halibut and Scallops were also delicious. Service was attentive without being too in-your-face. We will definitely return.

Tags: Happy Hour, Local Ingredients, Live Music, Vibrant Bar Scene
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined 3 days ago

This restaurant was extremely nice the food was good although a little pricey in the wait staff was fabulous she gave us other really good restaurant suggestions will definitely go back

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food5
ambience5
service5

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined 4 days ago

Our waitress, Melody, was great! She was very helpful with our questions and made our anniversary dinner extra special with a complimentary appetizer and koozies.

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food4
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined 4 days ago

When you are patronizing a restaurant, part of the experience is ambiance. The host on this trip decided to seat everyone within elbow, rubbing distance of each other. The restaurant was more than 3/4 empty at the time. I pointed out to the to the host that there were empty tables around and questioned the seating, he did end up moving us to a new table. The other patrons seated nearby heard my comments and also expressed their displeasure to the host about the closeness. The Optimist is one of many fine dining establishments in the neighborhood, its prices are high, and the service is lacking.

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food3
ambience2
service1

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined 5 days ago

The Optimist was great I was entertaining some clients who are also friends! This was their first time and they thoroughly enjoyed the food and ambiance. We were celebrating two very special occasions. I love the casual atmosphere and the great food. Always a pleasurable dining experience at the Optimist!

Tags: Comfort Food, Bar Seating, Fit for Foodies, Good for a Date, Worth the Drive, Great for Lunch, Good for Anniversaries
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Philadelphia)·Dined 5 days ago

Excellent food and drinks. We were there on our anniversary and we really enjoyed it. We will definitely put the Optimist in our restaurant rotation.

Tags: Worth the Drive
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food5
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (New York Area)·Dined 6 days ago

The chef is fantastic. This is primarily a seafood restaurant. The oysters were wonderful and a wide assortment. They are served with the most delightfully crunchy home made crackers. It is the only place I plan to eat at while in Atlanta. So far had dinner there two nights in a row. Aside from oysters which are de rigeur, I had the peach burrata, something between an appetizer and a desert that is slightly sweet but also tangy with complex flavors--almond butter, Georgia peaches naked with mozzarella over some crunchy bread: quite different and tasty, scallops so tender and so beautifully dressed that you will feel cheated by any other version. Last night I had the lobster roll served with the crunchiest home made chips in a delicious bun. Great wine list...and did I mention the hush puppies? I look forward to one more meal there before I return to New York. Waiters are friendly and the atmosphere is comfortable, satisfying a solitary culinary adventure (like my own, as I am here on business), to family dining, or anything in between.

Tags: Healthy, Great for Brunch, Creative Cuisine, Authentic, Local Ingredients, Happy Hour, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience4
service5
value5

vip
 (Minneapolis)·Dined 7 days ago

Wonderful place! So happy I went here. True gem for real oyster lovers and the rest of the food and service was amazing!!!

Tags: Business Meals, Special Occasion, Fun, Fit for Foodies, Romantic
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Atlanta)·Dined 7 days ago

Anniversary dinner

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined 7 days ago

Service and food recommendations were five stars.

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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (New York Area)·Dined 7 days ago

We came into town for a concert, and we were early for our reservation. The staff was quick to seat us anyway, and help us navigate the menu. Cocktails were incredible as were the appetizers and main dishes. We could have chosen many more items on the menu - everything looked excellent and delicious.

Tags: Special Occasion, Fit for Foodies, Authentic, Neighborhood Gem, Good for Birthdays
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on May 22, 2017

Just another amazing meal, as always! Our bartender was exceptional and could only use one arm as the other one was wrapped due to a biking injury. She did an awesome job.

Tags: Bar Seating, Creative Cuisine
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on May 21, 2017

From the warm reception at the host stand to the wonderful service from our waiter, Emily, we enjoyed a delicious meal and wonderful evening at The Optimist.
The standouts were the perfectly cooked Octopus and and the Warm Shrimp, that looked more like Prawns. Everyone in our group enjoyed their dinner orders and the cocktails and wine recommendations from the bar and our server.
Thank you Optimist for helping us make our daughter's birthday dinner and first time meeting her boyfriend's folks a terrific evening of food, fun and family!

Tags: Local Ingredients, Creative Cuisine, Fun, Seasonal
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on May 21, 2017

Wonderful food and service. While all the food is top notch it is priced too high, especially as it is served ala-cart. Our server was outstanding (Lew) and did an awesome job accommodating a vegetarian request with a chef's creation that reveled the main courses. Definitely recommend for a pricy but memorable suave de bonar experience. No matter what you do, hit the oyster bar at happy hour.

Tags: Bar Seating, Happy Hour, Casual, Tapas, Good Vegetarian Options
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food5
ambience4
service5
value3

vip
 (Charleston)·Dined on May 21, 2017

Great place, atmosphere and food. One issue is they made me change my reservation from 8 to later at 9pm when I added an additional person. Then we waited until 9:15 and they simply added a chair at the end of a table of 4, which they could have done and kept my 8pm reservation. If you are going to delay reservation until 9pm at least give us a table that seats 5 people. Not cool.

Tags: Vibrant Bar Scene
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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on May 21, 2017

Lovely place, great service. Little on the loud side.

oysters were good, and food was good, but expensive for the quality.

loved the live jazz band in the courtyard.

Tags: Happy Hour, Live Music
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food4
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on May 21, 2017

Reservation at 8:30. Seated pretty quickly but at a table for 2 with other tables literally at breathing distance. Terribly understaffed - our waitress was really trying her best but even then it took 45 minutes just for the oysters to arrive. Extremely noisy on top of everything- hardly the place for a romantic occasion or even one where you were just hoping for some conversation. The crudo was a joke as far as the portion was concerned, but otherwise food was good - but couldn't make up for the overall experience. All they need to do is to invest in some staff, and not try to emulate airlines in squeezing more and more tables in. The food would be worth the premium then.

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food4
ambience1
service2
value2

vip
 (Atlanta)·Dined on May 20, 2017

As usual, we enjoyed our meal and experience at Optimist. We are a bit disappointed in the burrata with peaches. We split two orders between four people and each only received one tiny sliver of peach. We had ordered a similar dish at Local Three, days before, and were amazed at all of the peach slices. Optimist should not skimp on the fruit (!)

Tags: Casual, Neighborhood Gem, Handcrafted Cocktails, Special Occasion
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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

vip
 (Atlanta)·Dined on May 20, 2017

Overall food was good.
Round 1 of drinks were good.
Service after that was NOT good. Ordered wine waited 20+ minutes!!
Server was never around when you needed something.
Was a big fan- had guest in from out of town - Disappointing!

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food4
ambience3
service1
value3

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on May 20, 2017

This was our first time eating here and we will definitely be back. Our service was exceptional and so was the food!!!

Tags: Good for Anniversaries, Pre/post Theatre, Good for a Date, Good for Birthdays
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Pittsburgh)·Dined on May 20, 2017

Friend and I were in Atlanta for a wedding and decided to go here for dinner. We had an absolutely amazing meal with absolutely amazing service. Really enjoyed it and will definitely be back.

Tags: Hot Spot, Fit for Foodies, Romantic, Notable Wine List, Bar Seating, Handcrafted Cocktails, Creative Cuisine, Authentic, Spicy, Fun, Good for a Date, Comfort Food
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Orlando)·Dined on May 19, 2017

Fancy environment AND delicious seafood. I went crazy for the oysters. Not to mention I saw 2 celebrities while we were there, just a few tables away. Made the entire dining experience that much more exciting.

Tags: Romantic, Fit for Foodies, Good for a Date, Good for Birthdays
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

vip
 (San Antonio)·Dined on May 19, 2017

Birthday but no complementary dessert. Plus it was mediocre overpriced food :(

Tags: Good for Groups, Scenic View, Live Music
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food1
ambience5
service5
value3

vip
 (Atlanta)·Dined on May 18, 2017

Not a good experience. My lobster roll was 1/2 size hotdog roll with a little lobster with dill on top for show. Served with a bunch of potato chips for $28.00. My friend had 4 scallops for 32.00. Everything is extra. Noisy

Tags: Spicy, Good for Groups, Special Occasion, Neighborhood Gem, Good for a Date
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food2
ambience4
service3
value2

vip
 (Atlanta)·Dined on May 17, 2017

So great! Melody, our server, was awesome.

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on May 15, 2017

Great food!

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food5
ambience4
service4

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on May 14, 2017

Been to the Optimist twice, both for special occasions. To date, both meals are the best two meals I've had in the last decade. Considering the atmosphere and quality of the food, The Optimist is actually a great deal.

Tags: Romantic, Good for Groups, Great Beer, Special Occasion, Business Meals, Handcrafted Cocktails, Good for Birthdays, Comfort Food, Worth the Drive, Cozy, Notable Wine List, Fun, Creative Cuisine, Good for a Date, Modern Decor, Authentic, Seasonal, Fit for Foodies
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on May 14, 2017

Our second visit here was a little underwhelming. The service and atmosphere are great. Some of our food choices (soup, octopus appetizer) were exceptional. Our entrees left us feeling underwhelmed and a tad disappointed. If this had been our first experience we probably would not be back. But averaging the two we will give it another go.

Tags: Good for Anniversaries, Special Occasion, Bar Seating
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food4
ambience5
service5
value4

vip
 (Atlanta)·Dined on May 14, 2017

Really good food in a fun, casual atmosphere. Not cheap.

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food5
ambience4
service4
value3

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on May 14, 2017

Really enjoyed the atmosphere of the Resturant and the outdoor seating we opted for. The service waiter was fantastic and fun. The food ended up being the best part and appreciate the waitress allowing us to change the desert up a bit. Great overall fun.

Tags: Business Meals, Cozy, Good for Anniversaries, Comfort Food, Creative Cuisine, Seasonal, Good for Groups, Great for Brunch
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food5
ambience5
service5
value3

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on May 14, 2017

Great restaurant but a little over priced

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food4
ambience5
service5
value1

 
 (Nashville)·Dined on May 14, 2017

I have wanted to try this place for a long time and it was totally worth the wait. MOST AMAZING FOOD EVER!!!

Tags: Scenic View, Fit for Foodies, Romantic, Good for Anniversaries, Good for Groups, Worth the Drive, Open Kitchen, Good for a Date, Cozy, Good for Birthdays, Special Occasion
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on May 13, 2017

Another great dinner and evening at The Optimist. We have been coming as a group of friend for special occasions and were overdue for a visit when the new head chef was announced. Everything we ate was amazing, but I've got the mention the oven-roasted oysters). The food here literally never disappoints. Would highly recommend the scallops, the halibut, and even the steak!

Tags: Good for Birthdays, Fun, Neighborhood Gem, Modern Decor, Live Music, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Atlanta)·Dined on May 13, 2017

We called the restaurant and told them we had an out of town guest arriving and could we change the reservation to a party of 3. She implicitly said no. That we would have to come it an 10:15 pm as they were booked solid, so of course we declined. Explained it was my 65th birthday, yada, yada, and she said 'sorry'.
But then on Friday we received the reminder from Open Table and called again hoping that something may have changed. She answered the second time and said No and I asked her why we were receiving the reminder from OT again. She said she had no control over OT - very rude young lady. But would she not have cancelled after the second call from us and the second 'turn-down'??

We ended up going to the Optimist anyway (with our guest) and went in time for Happy Hour and sat in their outside patio which is first come first serve. Stayed until 6:20 but went thru the main dining room to the bathroom before we left. The restaurant was maybe 1/4 occupied at 6:20 ( our initial reservations were 6:00) So what was her point in not letting us keep our reservations? Anyway, not a real pleasurable experience with this staff member.
Food was wonderful as always and service was good on the patio.

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food4
ambience3
service3
value3

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on May 13, 2017

Simply fantastic! Would love to spend my 40Th birthday here with a few close friends!

Tags: Tasting Menu, Special Occasion, Good for Birthdays, Vibrant Bar Scene, Good for Groups
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Charlotte)·Dined on May 12, 2017

We always love it and will return next trip to Atlanta from Asheville.

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Atlanta)·Dined on May 12, 2017

We have eaten here a number of times and had fabulous meals. We were disappointed with the food this trip not memorable like past times. We will write this trip off and say we miss-ordered?

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Bar Seating, Casual, Fun
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food2
ambience4
service4
value2

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on May 10, 2017

We went to The Optimist to celebrate our anniversary. Having spent time in Portland, the restaurant reminded me of that scene. It was a great atmosphere. The food was excellent (don't skip the Fried Octopus) and the service was fantastic.
We did run into an issue where we ordered a 1/2 dozen oysters and they only gave us 5. But the server promptly fixed the error and gave us an extra one for the mistake.
Definitely make it one of the restaurants to experience if you live in Atlanta.

Tags: Worth the Drive, Hot Spot, Good for Groups, Great for Outdoor Dining
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food4
ambience5
service5
value4

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