The Optimist
The Optimist

The Optimist

  • 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 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
Continued
Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerSeafood
  • Diners' Choice WinnerMost Booked
The Optimist reviews from OpenTable diners
518 reviews since June 28, 2014
Overall Rating4.5
  • Food4.5
    Service4.4
  • Ambiance4.4
    Noise LevelEnergetic
94% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
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 great
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 10/23/2014
    Came 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:
    hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • An off night
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 10/22/2014
    The 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:
    good for groups, hot spot, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 10/21/2014
    Our first time there, but surely won't be the last. Wonderful food, excellent service, nice space. Great for seafood.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great experience!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 10/20/2014
    The 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:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, notable wine list, romantic, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Optimist
    ScottB5176
    Dined on 10/19/2014
    Second 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:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Good
    Optimist
    Dined on 10/18/2014
    The Optimist is a great place. Nice atomsphere however the place is LOUD. Food was pretty good!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, late-night find, neighborhood gem, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Perfection!
    Jenny
    Dined on 10/18/2014
    We 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:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Awesome experience!
    Lemon
    Dined on 10/17/2014
    My 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:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Quickly becoming my favorite
    westsieeda
    Dined on 10/16/2014
    This 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:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Full experience.
    JasonVIP
    Dined on 10/16/2014
    Can'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:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot, notable wine list, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Always a great dining experience
    HelenaR
    Dined on 10/14/2014
    I've eaten in optimist many times, it's acrestaurant I would find all sorts of excuses to come back to.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • LucyVIP
    Dined on 10/14/2014
    I love the kale salad! The only negative is the mussels were not great. too big!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • Like having a beach in Atlanta
    Lala7212
    Dined on 10/11/2014
    The 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:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot, late-night find, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Whole Ambience
    Faith23
    Dined on 10/11/2014
    My Husband and I thoroughly enjoyed our food and Vibrant atmosphere.
    Special Features:
    hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • YUM!!!
    Love2eatVIP
    Dined on 10/11/2014
    What'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:
    great for lunch, hot spot, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Delicious food, great ambiance
    silvia1078
    Dined on 10/11/2014
    I 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:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Optimist Review
    Andysnightout
    Dined on 10/10/2014
    Once 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:
    fit for foodies, good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • EdsEats
    Dined on 10/10/2014
    My 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:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, notable wine list, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A step above!
    mattsVIP
    Dined on 10/10/2014
    I 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:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Amazing as always!
    foodie42
    Dined on 10/8/2014
    The 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:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 10/7/2014
    The food has always been amazing, but this night it was cold and overcooked.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Marc
    Marc
    Dined on 10/7/2014
    Outstanding 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:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great lunch spot
    Annie
    Dined on 10/7/2014
    Great 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:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Fantastic
    Dinerr
    Dined on 10/6/2014
    We 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:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Dog lover
    Enjoytheride
    Dined on 10/6/2014
    The 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:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, hot spot, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good but used to be great
    luv2eatVIP
    Dined on 10/4/2014
    We 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.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Not Up To Scratch
    BobZATLVIP
    Dined on 10/4/2014
    I 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.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Good Food/Small Portions
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 10/4/2014
    My 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.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • One of our new favorite restaurants
    Ebony
    Dined on 10/4/2014
    The fried whole fish (bass) & apple cheese cake were amazingly tasty...would return soley for those two items!!! Not good for romantic ambiance.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • DonnaSueVIP
    Dined on 10/3/2014
    This 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:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • 3 Girlz from the Gulf
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 10/3/2014
    We loved the food... Fresh and tasty. We all loved the gumbo.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • One of the best
    DHL1VIP
    Dined on 10/3/2014
    The 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 recommend
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for brunch, great for lunch, hot spot, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • On top of their game
    CheddarCurtainBusterVIP
    Dined on 10/2/2014
    The 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:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good, as always
    clmp
    Dined on 10/2/2014
    We 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:
    neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • One of our faves!
    JennyMacVIP
    Dined on 10/2/2014
    Consistently fantastic food and service. Love the restaurant and love to support Ford Fry!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, great for lunch, hot spot, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Delish!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 9/30/2014
    Thoroughly enjoyed our dining experience. I have health restrictions as to what I can eat and they were tremendously accommodating! Great service.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, great for lunch, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Amazing Seafood
    runtoeat
    Dined on 9/29/2014
    Very unique and amazingly incredible seafood. Everything was fresh and phenomenal!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good food, fair service
    oldfoodie
    Dined on 9/29/2014
    We 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:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, notable wine list, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Delicious food- great service
    FloridaGirl
    Dined on 9/29/2014
    The 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:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Very nice, robust food
    SteveP
    Dined on 9/27/2014
    The food was locally sourced, expertly and vibrantly prepared. The lack of pretense was refreshing.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.