914 Howell Mill Rd.
Atlanta, GA 30318Neighborhood:
SeafoodPrice: $31 to $50
- Dining Style: Casual Elegant
- Website: http://www.theoptimistrestaurant.com/
- Phone: 4044776260x
- 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 4043555311x12
- Special Events: Please contact Miranda Hudson at firstname.lastname@example.org for special event information.
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.Continued
Oh... and if you are not a seafood person, we LOVE meat too! No worries, be optimistic! :) ...Ford and Adam
Oh... and if you are not a seafood person, we LOVE meat too! No worries, be optimistic! :) ...Ford and Adam
Foodspotting photosSee all photos
Awards voted by OpenTable diners
- Diners' Choice WinnerSeafood
- Diners' Choice WinnerMost Booked
The Optimist - Best Restaurants in West Midtown ›
The Optimist reviews from OpenTable diners
518 reviews since June 28, 2014
- Ambiance4.4Noise LevelEnergetic
fit for foodies (382)special occasion (270)hot spot (265)neighborhood gem (196)good for groups (166)vibrant bar scene (161)romantic (119)notable wine list (111)great for lunch (96)great for outdoor dining (49)late-night find (35)great for brunch (27)kid-friendly (12)scenic view (7)Show More
- good, not greatOpenTable Diner Since 2011Dined on 10/23/2014Came here after hearing about it for a long time; not sure if it's because of the hype, but this place wasn't as awesome as expected. Everything was 'good' for a nice restaurant, but can't say anything stood out. We ordered oysters, lobster roll, halibut, clam roll, halibut cheeks, scallops, and sides of beets, sweet potato, hushpuppies (Beignet style). of all of the food, scallops stood out the most. service was OK; great at refilling drinks, but waiter did not ask of we needed a box and just took the leftovers to throw away.Special Features:
- An off nightOpenTable Diner Since 2008Dined on 10/22/2014The Optimist is a favorite of mine, but this most recent experience was not great. I ordered my favorite dishes and all but one of them was extremely oversalted and poorly cooked. One of the oysters that was described as "plump" ended up looking like a tired piece of flesh that had been ripped from a larger piece. I didn't eat it because it looked like a remnant from someone else's dish. I was treating some friends to dinner so I did not want to return the food or make a big deal of it at the time, but it was a definite disappointment.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- OpenTable Diner Since 2012Dined on 10/21/2014Our first time there, but surely won't be the last. Wonderful food, excellent service, nice space. Great for seafood.Special Features:
- Great experience!OpenTable Diner Since 2013Dined on 10/20/2014The service was extraordinary, the menu offerings varied and delicious. We chose to order several appetizers and sides to share in order to sample more of the menu. It did not disappoint! The Kale Salad was the best I have ever eaten.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- OptimistScottB5176Dined on 10/19/2014Second time and did not disappoint. Started with a specialty drink at the bar then dinner. Grilled octopus alone is worth the trip. Kale and Chorizo salad is also a mainstay. Fresh seafood entree - this time Cobia and Grouper. Have to try the brussel sprouts and the hush puppies.Special Features:
- GoodOptimistDined on 10/18/2014The Optimist is a great place. Nice atomsphere however the place is LOUD. Food was pretty good!Special Features:
- Perfection!JennyDined on 10/18/2014We enjoyed a delicious meal. I love this restaurant because you can either blow it out like we did, or snack on a few yummy tastes. Everything we ate was fresh and delicious. My favorite was the tuna.Special Features:
- Awesome experience!LemonDined on 10/17/2014My husband and I went here for our 22nd anniversary dinner and it was outstanding. The food was amazing and the service was terrific! Our waiter Ben was wonderful and even brought us salted Carmel ice cream with a candle at the end of our meal and he said it was on the house. He guided us through the menu and everything he recommended was outstanding! We had the octopus, crab legs, fried rice (award winning), swordfish, and the snapper. We finished with the ice cream sandwiches! Yummmmmm! We'll be back!Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Quickly becoming my favoritewestsieedaDined on 10/16/2014This place is just fantastic. I've been several times and always been blown away. The oysters are the best I've had anywhere. The lobster roll will blow your mind. It's not always listed on the menu, but just ask for it. The seafood chowder is so good it just might make you forget your own name for a minute. For sides, try the brussel sprouts and the hush puppies. The prices are a little high, but the food will make you not care.Special Features:
- Full experience.JasonVIPDined on 10/16/2014Can't make any suggestions for improvement, we had an all around great experience. Every dish was perfectly prepared. We were a group of 6 business men from around the country, accustomed to nice meals on various trips. This was as good or better than anything in any city.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Always a great dining experienceHelenaRDined on 10/14/2014I've eaten in optimist many times, it's acrestaurant I would find all sorts of excuses to come back to.Special Features:
- LucyVIPDined on 10/14/2014I love the kale salad! The only negative is the mussels were not great. too big!Special Features:
- Like having a beach in AtlantaLala7212Dined on 10/11/2014The Optimist was the best restaurant (seafood) I've ever eaten at, ever! It was like a beach was behind a couple of building, that's how fresh and tasty the seafood dishes tasted. The décor was perfect, dim & it had a perfect nautical theme. It was very loud and the tables are very close together, but that didn't bother me too much. I wish I ate raw oysters, the flavors were outstanding. Maybe the next time I go I will try some. It was my birthday, and the staff was so accommodating. I wish I remember our waitress name, she was awesome, so friendly! I though the food had perfect portions, my husband was still hungry. Totally going back!!!Special Features:
- Whole AmbienceFaith23Dined on 10/11/2014My Husband and I thoroughly enjoyed our food and Vibrant atmosphere.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- YUM!!!Love2eatVIPDined on 10/11/2014What's not to love about The Optimist!?! From the cool setting to the super fresh seafood - one of my favorite meals in a long time!Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Delicious food, great ambiancesilvia1078Dined on 10/11/2014I went there with my husband and friends to celebrate my birthday and have dinner before Cirque du Soleil show. We had an amazing experience. The food is delicious, the place is beautiful. I love The Optimist.Special Features:
- Optimist ReviewAndysnightoutDined on 10/10/2014Once again, dinner at the Optimist was great and everything we expected...unfortunately, we were not able to sit in the main dining room and that was a bit disappointing, but with the benefit of getting seated at the time our reservation was for; the back room was understandable. Next time I will wait for a table in the front or eat in the oyster bar. We had a myriad of appetizers, all good; we also had the Lobster Rolls which were the best. The service was great and there were no issues.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- EdsEatsDined on 10/10/2014My 13 year old daughter requested to go to The Optimist for her birthday dinner, they made her feel very special. The food was perfect as always. Happy my daughter has such good taste.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- A step above!mattsVIPDined on 10/10/2014I greatly enjoyed the Optimist. The food was fantastic, the service was amazing and the drinks delicious and inventive (they even have one with a fired orange peel). I took my wife and a friend to the Optimist and had a great meal together. We had space to talk and a great waiter (Michael) so the the dining experience was great. I sat at the bar for a drink before my guests arrived and the bar staff was pleasant and had good recommendations. Watching them create drinks for other guests as well was a fun experience in mixology, esp. the flamed orange peel drink called the "eye patch". For dinner we had an app, salads/soup, entrees and some desserts. All were quite good, though I would definitely recommend the seafood gumbo or kale salad.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Amazing as always!foodie42Dined on 10/8/2014The Optimist never disappoints! I brought some friends in for their first dining experience and they where blown away by the great service, delicious food and overall ambiance. The fried clam roll, octopus, oysters and hush puppies are a must have! Don't forget the main dish - a few of us had the halibut and it was cooked to perfection!Special Features:
- OpenTable Diner Since 2012Dined on 10/7/2014The food has always been amazing, but this night it was cold and overcooked.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- MarcMarcDined on 10/7/2014Outstanding service from Theodora and the food was nothing short of superb. This is a hidden gem in a restaurant I absolutely recommend. It could be a place for a good business dinner or a romantic evening.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Great lunch spotAnnieDined on 10/7/2014Great lunch spot, on a Tuesday it was not busy at all, but still quite loud due to all the hard surface. If you want a slightly more quite experience, try a table in the area behind the bar in the restaurant.Special Features:
- FantasticDinerrDined on 10/6/2014We thoroughly enjoy our dining experience here based on all aspects of the evening. A delight. Ashley was terrific and made excellent recommendations. Top notch restaurant without being uptight.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Dog loverEnjoytherideDined on 10/6/2014The mussels were exceptionally delicious, the service was knowledgeable and attentive. Met a friend there for lunch and I'm anxious to return for the dinner experience.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Good but used to be greatluv2eatVIPDined on 10/4/2014We had eaten here several times before and were always impressed with the quality of the food. We ordered the fish chowder which had very little fish and a lot of vegetables instead. The scallops were delicious but there were only 4 scallops on top of corn for $29! The fried rice was something we were really looking forward to, but it was bland and again had very little fish in it. We definitely noticed a decline in the quality and quantity of food from our prior visits. We were disappointed that this is where we chose to celebrate our anniversary dinner.
- Not Up To ScratchBobZATLVIPDined on 10/4/2014I am a fairly frequent patron of The Optimist. In fact, I'm a big fan of most of Ford Fry's restaurants. This visit to The Optimist was a little disappointing. I didn't find the service quite up to par and the food was good but not quite what I'm used to. For example, I had to ask twice for bread, when the guy serving it walked past our table twice and in fact gave bread to the table next to us. The waitress was very chatty with other tables (and I didn't want chatty) but a little more attention would have been appreciated. Again, not bad, just not up to scratch for what I've come to expect.
- Good Food/Small PortionsOpenTable Diner Since 2008Dined on 10/4/2014My experiences at The Optomist have varied widely, with the exception of service. The wait staff is consistently wonderful - they are knowledgeable and attentive. The food is also very good. I have had a wide variety of oysters, and dishes such as monkfish, scallops, and swordfish. All are well prepared and offer a great combination of flavors. Some of the dishes, including appetizers, can run from smallish to downright minuscule. Be sure to ask before you order. Finally, seating in the two tops can be quite crowded. As a result, this is not the place for an intiment or romantic dinner.I would recommend this to a friend.
- One of our new favorite restaurantsEbonyDined on 10/4/2014The fried whole fish (bass) & apple cheese cake were amazingly tasty...would return soley for those two items!!! Not good for romantic ambiance.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- DonnaSueVIPDined on 10/3/2014This was an excellent way to celebrate my birthday. This restaurant has been on my list to try for some time. It really lived up to my expectations. The whole fish was amazing. I will return as often as possible!Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- 3 Girlz from the GulfOpenTable Diner Since 2012Dined on 10/3/2014We loved the food... Fresh and tasty. We all loved the gumbo.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- One of the bestDHL1VIPDined on 10/3/2014The food was sensational and with service to match . We are new to the area. This will definately be a favorite. We had oysters to start and they were the freshest we have had in a long long time. Highly recommendSpecial Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- On top of their gameCheddarCurtainBusterVIPDined on 10/2/2014The Optimist continues to be a perennial favorite when visiting Atlanta. The staff is very attentive and responsive to requests, very knowledgeable of both the food and beverages, and excellent in timing both serving and clearing courses. The food is hands down amazing- from the first plate of rolls set down at the table until the final entrée, we were thoroughly impressed. The space is open and lively, but its amazing how such a big space can still have intimacy. High recommended!Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Good, as alwaysclmpDined on 10/2/2014We have now been to the Optimist a couple of times and are very impressed with its food, service and wine list. Not aware of any other restaurant in Atlanta that prepares fish as well as here.Special Features:
- One of our faves!JennyMacVIPDined on 10/2/2014Consistently fantastic food and service. Love the restaurant and love to support Ford Fry!Special Features:
- Delish!OpenTable Diner Since 2013Dined on 9/30/2014Thoroughly enjoyed our dining experience. I have health restrictions as to what I can eat and they were tremendously accommodating! Great service.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Amazing SeafoodruntoeatDined on 9/29/2014Very unique and amazingly incredible seafood. Everything was fresh and phenomenal!Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Good food, fair serviceoldfoodieDined on 9/29/2014We had to send back a salad that was terribly over-salted, as was a mussels sauce that was consumed anyhow. The service was slow and uneven, probably because the staff was short but the crowd was large for a Monday night.Special Features:
- Delicious food- great serviceFloridaGirlDined on 9/29/2014The Optimist was recommended to me by my uncle who has lived in the area for many years. I took to work colleagues with hopes that it would live up to its reputation. It was wonderful- the service was fantastic and the food was plated beautifully and super delicious. The server was very educated about the menu- made some great suggestions and did a fine job. My colleagues loved the industrial decor and most importantly their meals. Watch out for their rolls... you can't have just one!Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Very nice, robust foodStevePDined on 9/27/2014The food was locally sourced, expertly and vibrantly prepared. The lack of pretense was refreshing.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.