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The Optimist
The Optimist

The Optimist Details

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.theoptimistrestaurant.com
  • Email: www.info@theoptimistrestaurant.com
  • Phone: (404) 477-6260
  • Hours of Operation:
    Lunch: Monday - Friday: 11:30am - 2:30pm; Dinner: Sunday - Thursday: 5:00pm - 10:00pm, Friday - Saturday: 5:00pm - 11:00pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
  • Cuisine: Seafood
  • Executive Chef: Adam Evans
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: 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
  • Private Party Facilities: The Optimist has a variety of event spaces that include bar events, restaurant buy outs and semi-private dining for up to 50 guests.
  • Private Party Contact: Miranda Hudson (404) 355-5311 x12
  • Special Events & Promotions: Please contact Miranda Hudson at mhudson@rocketfarmrestaurants.com for special event information.

Getting there

  • Cross Street: 8th Street
  • Parking: Private Lot
  • Parking Details: We offer valet service Thursday through Saturday evenings and self-parking in our dedicated lot the remainder of our business hours.
A word from 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 and Adam
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Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerSeafood
  • Diners' Choice WinnerMost Booked
Diner Reviews
  • "This was not my first trip to Optimist and it never disappoints! The food AND drinks are delicious! It was a special occasion, and we really enjoyed it! I will definitely go again."
    Dined on 4/11/2014
  • "The first time we dined here, the food was amazing...so much so my husband, stopped over in Atlanta just to come back. This experience, the food was mediocre and there were limited sides. They need to always have a green vegetable as a side...it was mostly carbs."
    Dined on 4/14/2014
  • "Interesting and varied menu. Enjoyed the trendy restored warehouse architecture, and noted many patrons playing miniature golf on the astroturf outside while waiting for a table. The "Frothy She Crab Soup" tasted like frothy warm milk, and my wife complained. The restaurant staff responded quickly and generously, saying they would take it off the bill. They didn't. I had the Georges Bank Scallops, which were large and good, but small in number, as is often the case. Made for a small entree. Good effort on restaurant's part, and I hope they continue to grow and thrive.Not quite there yet."
    Dined on 3/15/2014
  • "ordered a variety of items on the menu: yes, i know the "Monday staff" is not the prime time staff- however, they don't discount the price for the average service you get. Food? monkfish and grouper were way overcooked- dry and flavorless- but, we were served behind a big party next to us, so no one cared. $25 fish dish that sat in window for 15 minutes? awful, awful, awful. I'm not a "foodie", but i am a diner in the area; would never, ever go back to this place. when our food finally came it was a "who ordered what?" and several items were not served on time. server was unconcerned. I was embarassed that i brag about this place prior to going there first."
    Dined on 4/14/2014
  • "After trying several time to get a reservation I was lucky to get one before a show at the Fox and was i happily surprised. It was well worth the wait. great seafood choices and the wait staff was excellent. I do not think you can go wrong here. My only negative was that i wished the Bourbon choices were more to my taste.A very nice Pinot Gris was a wonderful substitute."
    Dined on 4/10/2014
  • "I had a wonderful time at the Optimist. This restaurant is now in my top 5 favorite restaurants in Atlanta! Tasty food, friendly service and chic atmosphere. I will definitely return. My husband even enjoyed playing miniature golf outside while waited for valet."
    Dined on 4/12/2014
  • "Casual yet sophisticated atmosphere. Beautiful bar area. Exceptional well-trained service. The food was outstanding. I had the fried oysters to start which were heavenly. Others at the table had the kale salad which was really good as well. The scallop entree and the whole crispy haddock were wonderful as well. Great selection of wines by the glass. No room for dessert but the menu had some wonderful sounding choices. Next time I will save room for dessert. Expensive but for the quality of service and food, well worth it."
    Dined on 4/11/2014
  • "My first time here; went for lunch. If you like seafood, this is your place."
    Dined on 4/8/2014
  • "food and service by adam wonderful.....lobster roll outstanding....not a fan of skinny fries, you can do better i know.....great that adam offered to substitute something else in their place.....hope to be back soon."
    Dined on 4/8/2014
  • "Great friendly, FUN server. Flavorful food, dishes w a twist. So delicious. Fresh! Nice wine list. Great atmosphere. Wish I lived in Atlanta so I could go back again and again. Hush puppies!!! She'll on shrimp appetizer!! Scallop entree!! Whole cobia entree!! Brown sugar cake!! Poseidon Chardonnay!!! Fun drinks!!"
    Dined on 4/7/2014
  • "The seafood entries and sides were awesome. Very pleased."
    Dined on 4/6/2014
  • "Such a great vibe, and the food is absolutely outstanding."
    Dined on 4/6/2014
  • "We went there due to all of the recommendations from our friends. Everyone was right - the oysters were excellent. Unfortunately our charred octopus appetizer was TOO charred. My husband's scallops were outstanding and he wanted to lick the plate. My monkfish was mediocre but the broth it was in was very tasty. I would recommend this restaurant but I would watch the octopus (even though most on yelp loves it) and the monkfish."
    Dined on 4/3/2014
  • "This is my second time dining at The Optimist & my friends' 6th time. It just wasn't good this time. Almost every dish we had was too spicy - even the kale salad and I asked for no chorizo! Mu friends agreed and they are spice lovers. The server was awesome, but that's the only thing that was great, other than the company. Fish was over-cooked, salad was too spicy, shrimp was crazy hard to eat & the usually awesome octopus was really spicy too. Won't be back. Disappointed."
    Dined on 4/5/2014
  • "Atlanta area struggles with lunch spots. Thank you optimist for opening for lunch and offering more than a quick burger and fries. I ordered the shrimp appetizer and a side of the hush puppies. I was tempted to return for dinner the food was so good."
    Dined on 4/4/2014
  • "I took my girlfriend here on Friday absolutely loved it. Our server was very friendly and helpful with great recommendations. The ambiance was very well set with the design of the restaurant and the lighting. It was a little loud but that was too be expected at an Urban hot spot like this. We had the scallops for an appetizer, complete with strawberry, basil, and bacon. For dinner I had the Swordfish, which was cooked to perfection. Overall though, the most standout food was actually the hush puppies. It can be hard to find a truly excellent hush puppy sometimes and I think these were the best I ever had. I would highly recommend this restaurant to anyone looking for some seafood in the city and a great upscale atmosphere to go with it."
    Dined on 4/4/2014
  • "The GA shrimp app is amazing, will have you asking for more bread... You'll see what I'm talking about when you go."
    Dined on 2/20/2014
  • "Great food, great management, great service and awesome drinks!"
    Dined on 4/1/2014
  • "Highly recommended. While the noise level was a little high for normal conversation, the food was excellent. Both the triggerfish and monkfish were grilled to perfection and served with a nice assortment of veggies."
    Dined on 4/1/2014
  • "3rd time, food had highs and lows, shrimp al la plancha was overcooked. Little gem salad was delicious, oysters were fabulous.key lime pie was the best dessert. Service was very slow."
    Dined on 3/31/2014
  • "Friday night dinner for 2 in the bar at around 6. Bar service was a little slow even though there was no lack of staff. They were talking more than serving. Had to push the oysters up to the counter to get one of the bar tenders attention so we could order dinner. Next time I think we will get a table."
    Dined on 3/28/2014
  • "My boyfriend and I enjoyed a wonderful dinner here on Friday night. It has been a favorite of both of ours prior to us ever meeting. Never a disappointing meal."
    Dined on 3/28/2014
  • "I heard so many wonderful things about this restaurant and it lived up to my expectations. Almost a week out from the reservation the availability was limited. We reserved a 9:30pm spot on a Friday but arrived at 7:30 hoping to be seated earlier. We were able to sit and wait in the bar area and have appetizers and drinks. The bar staff was very friendly and waited on us til our table was ready around 8:30. They transferred our unfinished food to our table while we settled our bar tab and the great food and service continued. Our waitress was nice and made suggestions. The evening ended well and I would definitely return. Food recommendations: Fish Chowder, Seafood Gumbo, Seared Octopus, Fried Whole Fish, Scallops and Fried Basmati Rice"
    Dined on 3/28/2014
  • "Had another wonderful experience at The Optimist. The Oysters are a must. Had the Fish Chowder for the first time and loved it. The Black Cod may have been the best fish I have ever had. Be sure to check out the Fiddle Head Ferns and don't miss the Hush Puppies with the maple dipping side. Everything we had was perfect."
    Dined on 3/27/2014
  • "Our first time and we will go back again. Five stars for everything. Wine by the glass pricing could be better by using a straight five to one ratio. Fun place to watch people."
    Dined on 3/27/2014
  • "We have dined at the Optimist for both lunch and dinner and both are exceptional. My husband and I are from the Caribbean and love seafood so Friday night we ventured out for dinner. Tonight I had the Halibut served with artichoke which was divine. The fish was cooked perfectly and served at the right time. I also had the chowder which was wonderful as well and for dessert had the brown sugar cake. Our server was quite friendly and got even more so once he realized my husband served in the military. All in all another great experience at the Optimist and we will continue to visit the restaurant in the future."
    Dined on 3/28/2014
  • "Wow. This was a great lunch spot. Lobster roll was solid!"
    Dined on 3/27/2014
  • "The Optimist is known for its fish for good reason. The fish was prepared perfectly and very tasty. The fiddlehead fern were interesting if not a bit gritty. Our server was helpful and friendly though the bartender was definitively neither. The place is charming with its nautical theme tasteful and not tacky. The volume of the music and the collective noise from talking is overwhelming for an intimate dinner; better for a group of friends or a casual date."
    Dined on 3/27/2014
  • "Great food but service could be better. Great atmosphere"
    Dined on 3/24/2014
  • "We always enjoy the food here. The hostess can be a little slow to seat parties sometimes but the food and other service is great."
    Dined on 3/28/2014
  • "Make reservations well in advance for this place is popular. Three people in our party and we all enjoyed every aspect of our meal. The octopus appetizer was my favorite. The pork chop entree was the most tender and flavorful I've ever had... We had no room for dessert having inhaled the dinners ! Fun atmosphere and our server Clay made the dining experience even better. He managed to create the perfect balance of attentiveness and information, Their chef , Adam Evans is a nominee for Food and Wine Magazines, Best New Chef . Well deserved. We will be back very soon."
    Dined on 3/26/2014
  • "First props to the Optimist on a superior bar and amazing food. I celebrating my friend starting a new company - she's an oenophile/foodie and specifically requested we go there. Having a few prior visits under my belt I felt confident we'd have a great time. BUT our experience at the table was off due to a VERY inattentive server. He had to be flagged to return with pepper for the salads. He lagged us almost 20 minutes to get dinner orders in. We asked for any special (money no object) bottles of wine and disappeared for another 20 minutes. He appeared to be split between two dining room areas so that may have been the issue, but it's a good thing we're a gabby bunch and most there didn't take much notice."
    Dined on 3/26/2014
  • "First timer after hearing for months how great it is. Was not disappointed! The interior design of the restaurant is very cool, the octopus was delicious and facing the kitchen area was like watching a foodie performance. Will definitely go again."
    Dined on 3/26/2014
  • "Food was excellent but a little overpriced. Service left something to be desired. Also the noise level was so loud we could not have a conversation. Probably not going back"
    Dined on 3/26/2014
  • "Artichoke hearts served with halibut. Sakte with excellent preparations of herbs. Beautiful fingerling potatoes and wonderful green Excellent cocktails and desserts wonderful place the Optimist."
    Dined on 3/26/2014
  • "I go to The Optimist for the best burger in Atlanta (sorry Linton). Our server gave a very enthusiastic recommendation for the whole ga white shrimp a la plancha and we are so glad we took his recommendation. It was insanely good. My only regret was not knowing the nice gentleman who made rounds to all the tables checking customer satisfaction was Executive Chef Adam Evans. This is our third trip to The Optimist. It has become my favorite dining destination in Atlanta. Rick. Atlanta, GA"
    Dined on 3/25/2014
  • "It was great food with great service, but way overpriced."
    Dined on 3/25/2014
  • "Monkfish was great. Rays has better gumbo but I do like the level of spice and the french bread that is served with it. Wine list could use a few more higher end bottles. Not that it lacks quality but some of the stuff coming out of the kitchen is phenomenal and I feel a wine list should be able to compliment the high level food and it seems to be more geared towards value."
    Dined on 3/15/2014
  • "I went to The Optimist a few times last summer and early Fall and LOVED it. This visit I was less impressed. I am not sure if it was the restaurant or me having a bad night so I will go back BUT-- the food seemed less special and the service was pleasant, efficient but not informative."
    Dined on 2/8/2014
  • "I had the vegetable plate with the She-Crab soup (cup) as a starter and was surprisingly extremely full when I left and the food was fabulous! . Food was divine and service even better. My husband had the Gumbo with the Fish and Chips. It was a huge piece of fish and the potatoes were amazing. Not your typical "chips"! We'll definitely be back."
    Dined on 3/23/2014