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The Optimist
The Optimist

The Optimist Details

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.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
Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerSeafood
  • Diners' Choice WinnerHot Spot
  • Diners' Choice WinnerMost Booked
Diner Reviews
  • "With a menu that changes daily depending on what is in season, the Optimist provides fresh tasting, creative food in a fun, casual setting. The swordfish paired with pork belly, the "opportunities" (small appetizers for one), and the hush puppy "beignets" stood out. Save time for the three holes of mini golf and to hear the excellent live music. Service was comfortable, with the server well acquainted with the menu, and the wine list had a nice variety, both by the bottle and the glass."
    Dined on 7/11/2014
  • "We selected a bottle of wine which the waiter recommended, and they were out of it. Appetizers arrived in a timely manner and were quite good. We(party of only 3, with no unusual requests) then waited 1 hour + for our entrees At first our waiter stopped by a few times to advise that our food would be there shortly. Later he began walking around the perimeter of the restaurant to avoid our table. In truth it was not his fault as we could view from afar his obvious frustration with the kitchen. The next table was seated and served wrong entrees which were replaced with the correct entrees, all while we were waiting. When the food finally arrived, two of the entrees were inedible. Monkfish dish was predominantly a huge, disgusting bone. Awful!"
    Dined on 7/9/2014
  • "Food was amazing. Took a long time---too long to come out. Same as our last visit."
    Dined on 7/9/2014
  • "My boyfriend and I had lunch here and were excited to try the oysters. Although their full oyster bar is only available for dinner, we were able to try two different types of oysters ("East Coast" and "West Coast") and really enjoyed them. The food was also great- I had the lobster roll and enjoyed it as always."
    Dined on 7/8/2014
  • "I love this restaurant, but will not go there again until the parking situation is fixed. The last time I went, we stood in the Valet line 30 min. after lunch in order to get our car. The Valet is hustling the best they can, but must park your car quite a distance away. We've put up with this on every visit, but the final straw was when I left my cellphone on the table and they required me to valet in order to walk inside. At 5:00 PM at night, it took 40 minutes for me to wait to drop my car because the line of cars was out in the street. I was very frustrated that no one would make an exception for me, or run in to the hostess stand for me. They have lost a good corporate customer!"
    Dined on 6/6/2014
  • "This was our first visit to The Optimist and will not be our last. We chose this restaurant to try the chilled oysters which were excellent, but also especially enjoyed the snapper and scallop entrées. The fried peach pie was unexpectedly delicate and tasty."
    Dined on 7/8/2014
  • "Food was excellent and uniquely prepared. I had he cobia which was excellent. Portions are a but small but worth it for the taste. This place is not cheap so bring a hefty wallet :-)"
    Dined on 7/6/2014
  • "This was a first visit and will definitely return. The oysters were the best I've had, and the rest of the meal was memorable. Pretty pricey due the to the a la carte nature of the menu, but worth it for a special occasion."
    Dined on 7/6/2014
  • "Glad I finally tried this place and it lived up to the hype for the most part! Food was great, loved the decor!"
    Dined on 7/6/2014
  • "Dine in last wednesday night sit at the booth area, we had a great time. The server offer great recommendations. Be back this wednesday again!"
    Dined on 7/2/2014
  • "My new favorite restaurant. Excellent service, and delicious food. The swordfish and pork belly was a great dish, and loved the side of mushrooms and pickled bok choy, which was the perfect amount of sweet and heat with the pickled jalapeños. My mom's fish n' chips was a huge serving, and perfectly prepared."
    Dined on 7/5/2014
  • "A friend recommended this place and it was great from start to finish. The drinks and oysters are a must. Try the octopus starter too."
    Dined on 7/3/2014
  • "There was very little on the menu that my out of town friends could actually eat recently. It would be great to have a little more variety to accommodate different food requirements. Otherwise, I love The Optimist!"
    Dined on 7/2/2014
  • "We chose The Optimist because of the fantastic information found in Atlanra Magazine. We were looking forward to our meal all week. The bartender served us promptly with great recommendations for beer and cocktails(yum!). The ingredients in the cocktail were fresh and appealing. Our meal began with oysters and homemade saltines. Excellent! Then came mussels and the famous lobster roll. Perfection! Honestly one favorite item that was unexpected were the hush puppies with butter and sugar cane. Amazing and couldn't stop eating them. Our server was so well versed and helped identify plates that we would enjoy. Definitely a restaurant worth the drive!"
    Dined on 7/3/2014
  • "Good place will recommend to friends. Food was excellent and the service outstandin!"
    Dined on 7/2/2014
  • "I honestly thought all the rave reviews I heard about this place weren't going to live up to the hype.....but they truly did. Each dish was so unique and wonderfully prepared. The raw oyster selection has a outstanding variety. You can tell a lot of thought was put into it. Also, the service was EXCELLENT. Each server who stopped by out table even to fill up our water seemed to be knowledgable in the food they served. This is truly one of Atlanta's top restaurants!"
    Dined on 6/28/2014
  • "Hands down, my favorite restaurant in Atlanta. The space itself is modest, but the food was as fresh as being right at the ocean, the service impeccable, and the food was stellar - starting with the buttery buns and sweet, tiny mussels appetizer, to the local heirloom tomatoes and my exquisite, delicate, buttery monkfish entree. Even the signature drinks were just right."
    Dined on 7/1/2014
  • "We came here with 4 of our other friends last weekend. It was the weekend after our engagement. We had an AMAZING time! The rolls are to die for!!! This was my second time here. I would come back over and over again!"
    Dined on 6/21/2014
  • "Loved it! We arrived early so that we could spend some time at the bar enjoying drinks and shellfish. The bar is fun, funky, energetic -- a great place to be. Then we moved to a table to enjoy the rest of the meal. This was more relaxing, though the energy of the restaurant is still present. We will definitely return for either an energetic time (at either of the two bars) or for a relaxing meal."
    Dined on 2/16/2014
  • "Didn't go for oysters because just get the best ones from Apalachicola & forget the rest. That being said, the swordfish was THE best I'ver had. Never had it prepared in duck fat but that is the only way I ever want to have it now. The kale salad was great but very salty. I had a taste of the she-crab soup and it was great. Nice size martinis. Not much for chardonnay on the menu. Desserts were ok. The salad and the swordfish, however, were so good, I'll go back The only down side of the whole evening was a parking attendant who had to go on and on about how I had driven in the wrong way. I said "excuse me" once and when he continued, I said "EXCUSE ME!!" and reported his lack of manners to the restaurant."
    Dined on 6/30/2014
  • "This was our first time to The Optimist and we were greatly impressed. Our friends live in NYC and NOLA and even they were impressed!! Food, service, atmosphere all great ...we'll be back."
    Dined on 6/28/2014
  • "So glad I got off the beaten path of chain restaruants and ate at this unique and wonderful spot. Had a fabulous meal of incredible scallops and prawns. Would recommend in a flash."
    Dined on 6/28/2014
  • "This was my third time for dinner at The Optimist. Love the atmosphere, especially the live music outside in the courtyard. The food is quite good, but I was very disappointed in the tiny portion of Red Snapper served for $26. I am small woman, but the portions are too small even for me. Seems like the portions are smaller than last summer when I dined there twice. I will come back, but probably just to the outdoor seating area for drinks."
    Dined on 6/27/2014
  • "Really enjoyed the cumulative experience for lunch, but was disappointed in the reason my wife and I came - the lobster roll. I found that the flavor of the lobster was obscured by the strong competing flavors of the buttered roll, celery and lemon. Except for appearance and texture, it was difficult to even notice that it was lobster we were eating. In addition, the delicately crispy fries were majorly oversalted. Stroke time! Side salad and dressing were good. Cordial but only fair service. Best thing about the meal was the incredible salted caramel ice cream for dessert! I'd go again, but order something else next time."
    Dined on 6/26/2014
  • "I enjoyed the Optimist and the very interesting menu items. However, I feel it is significantly over priced and that the diner is helping to recoup monies spent on design and execution. I think Goin' oastal in Virginia Highlands is a better bet."
    Dined on 6/26/2014
  • "It was my quarterly foodie dinner with two friends, and I picked The Optimist because I'd heard raves about it. I ordered 8 oysters on the half shell as an appetizer, the monkfish, and a side of hush puppies ("Beignet style"). The oysters were delicious, and you can mix the freshly shaved horseradish, ketchup and vinaigrette to your taste. The monkfish was quite good. I'd never had monkfish, and they cooked it with some pancetta bacon. The sauce made the fish. The portions were nicely sized too. I also ordered the lemon cake for dessert, and it was delicious. The best thing I ate were the hush puppies. The powdered sugar, honey butter were quite delicious. Always order a side of the hush puppies! My entire meal was about $75."
    Dined on 6/25/2014
  • "Really excellent food and pretty good service. Unbelievably loud. But the main problem is that this place has the scruffiest looking group of servers imaginable. I guess that fits in with the current trends in this pick-up truck type of world we have to live in today. However, even if I cannot have elegance or grandeur in Atlanta restaurants these days, I still think that a neater looking staff of waiters would indicate the type of cleanliness I think many of us still hope for when dining out."
    Dined on 6/25/2014
  • "Upon arrival we drove up and were greeted with the verbiage "that will be $2 in advance". Not a good welcome and much different from the last 4 times ice dined there. Dining was awesome both service and food. Then a 20 minute line to get my car. Sadly that is such a turnoff we won't return. There are other great options."
    Dined on 6/25/2014
  • "This was my first time at The Optimist. I was favorably impressed from the start. Ian, our server, was attentive, energetic and truly seemed happy to be working there. I have never seen such a variety of fish and shellfish selections in Atlanta. We had a dozen oysters, and each one was exceptional. I tried the porgy and was delighted it was not covered in some overpowering sauce. It was beautifully cooked and plated. The bar offered a number of innovative cocktails and the wine list offered a great selection and good price ranges. Finally, the desserts were excellent. We will be back soon."
    Dined on 6/24/2014
  • "Previous visit was wonderful. This time a) they were out of the dish one us ordered and we were told well after our appetizers arrived causing quite a long wait b) when the food arrived one order was wrong. We didn't want to wait any longer so one of us didn't eat c) all thought the fish was way too salty d) it took 20 minutes to get the car. The manager was pleasant and tried to make up for the problems, but still. Not up to the first visit or the reputation."
    Dined on 6/24/2014
  • "I ordered the snapper and it was good, small portion, skin on (eww) and honestly I've had better fish elsewhere. My husband agreed his fish was good but nothing great. But the restaurant is a fun upbeat place, the peel and eat shrimp was great, the oysters were wonderful and we had excellent service."
    Dined on 6/23/2014
  • "Not great for a romantic dinner. Very loud and somewhat chaotic atmosphere. Tables close together so not good for focused conversation unless you want the people at the next table to add their thoughts. Kale salad was extremely salty. Good wine list. Very friendly staff."
    Dined on 6/23/2014
  • "I took my girlfriend here for our 2 year anniversary. The food was to die for. I had the swordfish and she had the red snapper both were perfectly seasoned and cooked. Our server was very knowledgeable on the food items as well as the wine and liquor list. I will definitely come back again."
    Dined on 6/21/2014
  • "Too salty, too seasoned, three people had a coughing fit because they were "roasting peppers?" Shrimp appetizer had heads and tails and was impossible to eat!!!!!!"
    Dined on 6/21/2014
  • "Had a lovely evening. The food was delicious and out of the ordinary. (Tasty Peel and Eat Shrimp and unusually delicious Hush Puppies are just 2 standouts.) Our waiter was helpful with suggestions and answers to our questions. We never felt rushed. We noticed the large number of staff working to ensure top notch service."
    Dined on 6/21/2014
  • "I will definitely go back. I'm not usually a big fan of oysters but I tried my first and it was quite good. The gumbo was fabulous and the side dishes blew me away. My fish was cooked perfectly and my friend's scallops were divine. Loved it!!"
    Dined on 6/21/2014
  • "The oysters were amazing. The other food, and the cocktails, were average."
    Dined on 6/14/2014
  • "We are "Friends" of Atlanta Eats on Peachtree TV. We have decided to enjoy Local restaurants based on this shows exposures. This is the BEST we have been to so far. Yes $$$$ but worth every penny when the occasion is that special"
    Dined on 6/18/2014
  • "My husband and I went for our 7th anniversary. The atmosphere, food, service, and drinks were absolutely phenomenal!! Can't wait to go back!"
    Dined on 6/19/2014
  • "It was the name The Optinist that got our attention. But the food was exceeding expectations. Great fish, excellent prepared and a great ambiance with live music. Will come again - and again - and again!"
    Dined on 6/20/2014