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 WinnerHot Spot
  • Diners' Choice WinnerSeafood
  • Diners' Choice WinnerMost Booked
The Optimist reviews from OpenTable diners
537 reviews since June 2, 2014
Overall Rating4.4
  • Food4.5
    Service4.4
  • Ambiance4.3
    Noise LevelEnergetic
92% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
fit for foodies (393)special occasion (289)hot spot (270)neighborhood gem (195)vibrant bar scene (176)good for groups (165)romantic (123)notable wine list (115)great for lunch (101)great for outdoor dining (48)late-night find (41)great for brunch (28)kid-friendly (15)scenic view (10)Show More
  • 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.
  • Fun atmosphere
    MalM
    Dined on 9/27/2014
    Enjoyed the whole scene...fun, vibrant atmosphere, friendly, knowledgeable service, good food. The servings were of appropriate size, in general, and dishes not overpriced. All in all, a satisfying evening.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great food but will not fill you up
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 9/26/2014
    My wife and I are seafood lovers and the food was amazing! The staff is extremely professional and knowledgable on the entire menu. The parking was decent and the atmosphere was great. The food was a bit expensive and portions were not big enough to fill you up. We both had appetizers, full dinners (with a side) and a dessert. For $110 dollar bill I expect to not have to stop past Burger King on the way home. (And we are by no means overweight)
    Special Features:
    hot spot, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Optimistic
    CAV59
    Dined on 9/26/2014
    We were right to be optimistic about the Optimist. The food is wonderful and the ambiance good. The service was generally solid. Two comments follow: If a whole fish is being filleted -- it should be taken away from the table. If people are trying to converse, it is a bit difficult to do when the server is leaning over the table. Plates were placed in front of the wrong person during both the appetizer and entree courses. These items are minor -- just noting as everything else at the restaurant was spot on.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Had an amazing experience!!!
    JayOpe
    Dined on 9/24/2014
    My wife and I went for our seven year wedding anniversary. We had never had raw oysters before and we told our server, so she brought us two free ones for our anniversary as a gift from her. Then the Manager found out that we had not had roisters either and he decided to buy us two free ones as well. Thanks today we found out how much we really like raw oysters! How are server Dion really made us feel special, like we are VIPs at the restaurant that night. The food was amazing we had oysters, "obviously," had an octopus appetizer, I had the scallops and my wife had the skirt steak. Everything was cooked to perfection. The ambience of the restaurant is amazing, the one downside like most people say is that it is very noisy.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great choice
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 9/24/2014
    We were told it was a great place and we weren't disappointed! Food was very good and the service was great. There was a large party there so it was pretty loud and the valets couldn't keep up with the flow. Guess that's a good problem to have. Will go again and refer others.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Decadent.
    netterlou
    Dined on 9/23/2014
    That was the single best meal I have ever purchased and not had to prepare for myself. It was a very lovely evening. The restaurant itself had a beautiful design and flow. The food was incredible. Our server was extremely knowledgeable, courteous, attentive, and genuine. Bravo, Ford Fry! This place truly is a gem.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Wonderful!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 9/22/2014
    My husband & I celebrated our wedding anniverary here recently, you can totally go all dressed up/fancy or completely casual! Every cocktail, appetizer, main dish, sides & dessert were deliciuos. The scallops are phenonemal! Even on a Monday night, it was pretty busy, so make reservations!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • YUM
    2thfairy
    Dined on 9/20/2014
    The food is delicious and fresh and unique. The servers are equally excited about the food as the patrons. I enjoyed the food immensely. This is not a quiet spot and would be difficult for a large table since you are struggling to hear the person next to you, let alone a person across the table. There is outdoor seating which has a totally different vibe and may have better acoustics if you don't mind everyone entering and exiting the restaurant walking past you.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent food
    JoeyM
    Dined on 9/20/2014
    Service was impeccable and food ,while pricey, was wonderful. Woul return but only for special occasions because it is price prohibitive.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, hot spot, notable wine list, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • food is hit or miss....
    sharonkaye
    Dined on 9/20/2014
    it really depends on what you order. i really enjoyed the mussels -- but the tuscan salad was so hot and spicy that it was inedible. the blacked fish was also so hot that you could not taste or enjoy the fish....the decor is very cool -- service was very professional and friendly.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • First time
    Londa
    Dined on 9/20/2014
    My husband and I went there on a Saturday date night we absolutely loved it, food was great and all the employees who came to our table were really nice.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • First timer
    JSmithVIP
    Dined on 9/20/2014
    I took my husband for his birthday. This was our first time. Our server explained the Oyster selections and helped us choose a great sampling. I had the halibut, my husband had the mahi mahi and we paired it with heirloom tomato salad and the balsmati "fried rice". The rice was amazing! Apparently it was voted best in the country just a few weeks before. I will definitely be going back!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good but not great
    DDDana3262
    Dined on 9/19/2014
    Wee had a late reservation, but the place was still very loud and busy. Some things were very good. My husband had the Cobia, and it was amazing. The peal and eat shrimp were great. I had the scallops. They were fine. The best part of the meal was dessert. We had the best ice cream sandwiches of all time. Our server started out good, but I believe that took a back seat to his side work as the meal progressed. When I pay that much for a meal, I want to be wowed. I just wasn't....
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • A great time!!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009VIP
    Dined on 9/19/2014
    Very good we thoroughly enjoyed our meal. Great food
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot, neighborhood gem, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Did not meet expectations.
    disappionting
    Dined on 9/19/2014
    When I made the reservations the only had 6:15 available so we took the early time because we wanted to try the restaurant. When we departed the restaurant looked to be only about half full. I had the gumbo which was not very flavorful just a spicy liquid. I ordered the Fish and Chips which was a very large serving but here again there was no flavor. When the waiter took away my plate he noticed I had only eaten a small portion and ask if there was a problem I said yes...no flavor. He did have a floor manager come and they did take the dish off my bill. My wife had the Trout dish which she said was "ok" but not anything special. In summary it was a very disappointing evening.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great stuff
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006
    Dined on 9/19/2014
    Very nice. Great service. Had lobster roll. Very fresh. Sorbets are VERY good.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • Loved it
    danna
    Dined on 9/18/2014
    Just what I was hoping for: great food, great choices, beautiful interior, good service. I could eat there for days in a row and there would still be stuff on the menu I wanted. Duck fat poached swordfish was so delicious, as were the fried oysters and gulf shrimp.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Delish!
    Foodlover13
    Dined on 9/17/2014
    The oysters are AMAZING and the corn fritters and divine.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great service, great food
    karinekodaVIP
    Dined on 9/17/2014
    I have been here lunch and dinner several times, and I have never been disappointed. Their food is always fresh and well-executed. Kitchen was backed up quite a bit between the appetizers and the main course, so the server brought us a small portion of salad to tie us over on the house. The place was fully packed even though it was Wednesday night. Although it is now a popular thing, this was one of the first restaurants to have an oyster bar available in Atlanta, and they know what they are doing. Will definitely be back.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Delicious Fresh Seafood
    LexiVIP
    Dined on 9/17/2014
    I took several out-of-town clients here for a working lunch and everyone LOVED this place. We tried the fried oysters (YUM) and the grilled calamari to start. We also split an order of the hushpuppies for the table; you MUST try these! I had the shrimp burger/sandwich, which I thought was really yummy once I got past the enormous bun. The only plate we didn't lick clean was the calamari, and our wonderful waiter Stefano (sp?) removed it from our bill for us. Highly recommended! I will be back!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Lunch!
    Usma90
    Dined on 9/17/2014
    I had lunch here with a group of 5 friends and it was fantastic! We had the Lobster roll, the Opti-burger, the Fried Rice, Hush Puppies,Chicken Salad, and various others. Seemed like a cop out to order the burger, but once the server described the preparation, we had to have it! So, so, so happy we did! It was literally the best we ever had! The Lobster Rolls were so good and super fresh, and loaded with Lobster! Highly recommend! Go now, you will not be disappointed!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Absolutely Amazing
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 9/16/2014
    Best seafood in town. Very fresh and creatively prepared. The oyster bar is wonderful.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Enjoyable experience
    FullBelly
    Dined on 9/16/2014
    Went for anniversary dinner. Love the design of the place. Stopped at the oyster bar for a drink and a smattering of oysters because we were early for our reservation. Eclectic offering of tasty cocktails. Service was prompt, warm and informative. Dinner was delicious. Offerings that night ranged from simple filets to whole fried fish, which our server happily filleted at our table. My co-diner and I were both very happy with the food and left with full bellies and smiles. The only negative was that we were not able to transfer our oyster bar tab to our table, but the waitstaff was very quick to close us out so it was nearly seamless anyway. Yum!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent food slow service
    Cathy
    Dined on 9/16/2014
    This was my third time to the Optimist. I have been once for lunch and once for dinner. The food is always outstanding. The timeliness of receiving our food was a little disappointing. The lunch crowd was much lighter than when I went in the past. We did not order anything difficult (she crab soup for 1, 2 lobster rolls and one shrimp cobb salad). We ordered two desserts and one coffee. What should have been a nice one hour lunch went over into 1 1/2 hours. We had a nice time and business conversation was good in a great environment. So, excellent food. The timing just needs to be worked out a little, especially at lunch.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • One of the best
    keedrodrogo
    Dined on 9/15/2014
    I have eaten Seafood all over the world and this one is simply one of the best seafood restaurants you will find. Impossible to describe how good it is on all levels. Extremely impressed!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, hot spot, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Costly
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 9/14/2014
    Small portions, over-priced. The food was good just not what we expected.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great Seafood Menu
    PTCfoodie
    Dined on 9/13/2014
    From fin-fish to shell-fish, chowders to filets, heavily sauced to unadorned, the daily menu is great for seafood lovers! The warehouse type room leads to a very energetic dining experience.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great Place
    Water
    Dined on 9/12/2014
    The folks working the Hostest stand were very welcoming, the bartnders make great drinks but rather stand offish. The food is what makes this a great place to dine!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Delicious Treat
    TeresaW
    Dined on 9/12/2014
    Wanted to try a lobster roll, so we went to the Optimist, as recommended by EVERYONE. The door staff was very perfectly suited for their position, kind and inviting. Table was very comfortably situated in the large open room. Very intimate, even though the space was very open. Loved the service.Ordered the lobster rolls, added She-crab soup. Server promptly explained it's frothy, non-traditional attributes. No surprises here. Much appreciated advice. Treat was accompanied by shrimp toast. Everything arrived at precisely the exact moment it should have. So much lobster on such a succulent piece of bread. The shoestring fries had the perfect amount of seasoning. We truly enjoyed every moment of our visit and are anxious to return.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, scenic view, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • awesome experience!!
    Batto
    Dined on 9/10/2014
    love this place, the food is kept top notch, lots of fresh ideas for meals, without the crazy turns, cooked to perfection, and the service is just there, not overwhelming nor lack of interest, the drinks menu had choices for every one in our party and the overall experience was memorable. definitely the Optimist has a spot on my list of good places to talk about, with an eye catcher story behind every visit... kudos !!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great Dinner
    ScotchSnob
    Dined on 9/10/2014
    Out of town business associates were coming to town. The Optimist was the perfect choice not to conduct business, but to laugh and chat about tomorrow's meeting with excellent food and wine! Great Oysters with wonderful wine pairings. The cornmeal crusted pink snapper is awesome. Who thinks of fried okra and pepper jelly? It was amazing. Look forward to returning again.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Wonderful experience
    Cawoojo
    Dined on 9/9/2014
    We went for my husbands birthday and have been trying to go since it opened. I certainly understand why it's so hard to get reservations now! Everything from the atmosphere to the restrooms was wonderful. We will definitely be returning!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Fantastic.
    Trawler
    Dined on 9/9/2014
    First time eating here. Many of the dishes are brings-tears-to-your-eyes good. I'm fond of the Fish Market, but I think the Optimist has it beat. I think this is the best seafood I've had in Atlanta, and some of the best I've had anywhere. A little pricey but worth it, look forward to going back.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • amazing place
    flygirlVIP
    Dined on 9/9/2014
    great food and service. Will be back soon and tell all my friends about this place.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Fantastic food!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 9/8/2014
    The Optimist blew me away! My date eats lots of seafood and I don't eat it at all, but their non-seafood options were incredible! We will definitely be back!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • great seafood and oyster bar
    foodie
    Dined on 9/8/2014
    the oyster bar is one of the best in Atlanta with a huge variety but most of all they are very fresh and juicy not dried out and old. worth the trip if you love oysters.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2012VIP
    Dined on 9/8/2014
    I've eaten here many times and this is the first time I was disappointed. Was pressured to order entree at the same time as appetizer- we didn't- in and out in 60 minutes- felt rushed. Ordered the sea bass and didn't realized it would arrive as a whole fish. Difficult to eat around the bones and garlic sauce was boring-- I've had much better. I've had great meals here in the past so I will give it another try, yet not soon--
    Special Features:
    hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • octopus, porgy, monk fish, oh my!
    HealthyBusiness
    Dined on 9/7/2014
    I started with a great glass of champagne, and enjoyed every morsel of marinated beets and heirloom tomatoes. Every fish was perfectly prepared and delicious. The grilled okra was a great flavor surprise for a Southern girl- no breading and still tasty!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, kid-friendly, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • My very favorite!
    JanRVIP
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    I'm not a "crazy"l food lover, but I must say...the Optimist is amazing. From the atmosphere (casual urban), to the incredible food, I would highly recommend this to any and everyone who wants to have a great meal and enjoy the atmosphere of relaxed, stylish, and fun! Every dish we have ever tasted here, is amazing...so congrats to the staff, chefs, and owners, for setting your bar high and continuing to land well above!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic