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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
  • "Great, beautifully presented food but the noise level was brutal. All but impossible to converse. And this was early on Sunday."
    Dined on 7/20/2014
  • "I'm a vegetarian. The vegetarian selections were very limited, basically a few vegetables and a salad. The vegetable choices were poor. The arugula salad was so vinegary that I couldn't eat it. In short, my personal experience was awful. My prior experiences at the Optimist have been good. The other two members of our party (seafood eaters) had a good experience with their meals."
    Dined on 7/19/2014
  • "The Optimist was an okay dinning experince. I would not go back by choice unless someone invited me. The food was ok, but not work the price. I dine at four to five star resturants on a normal basis and this one just did not cut the mustard for me. The Blacken Hailbut was dry, the fried egg and peanut rice was slim to none for me, but my guess had plenty. The best thing to me were the dinner rolls. I would spend my $200.00 at the Palms, Captial Grille, Ocean Prime etc...but not at the Optimist. Not to mention, Valet got my car dirty, they tracked mud on my carpet and park my 750 Li BMW in the mud. I know that where is bad, but you don't have pave parking. I was not happy at all! Had just detail the car on Tuesday. Waited to get car"
    Dined on 7/19/2014
  • "LOVED IT! Food was way better than I expected. Oysters were fresh and wonderful, drinks creative, octopus was cooked tender and seasoned perfectly, halibut was cooked tender and juicy, lobster roll was as good as the best I've had in Maine, corn doughnuts were to DIE for......seriously have not had a meal this good in years. Service was great at the bar and once we got to the table. Only negative was the chairs were not comfortable but it won't keep us from going back soon."
    Dined on 7/19/2014
  • "Everything was awesome! We loved the atmosphere. The shrimp appetizer, peach cobbler dessert, and hush puppies were our favorites! And our server AJ was wonderful!"
    Dined on 7/18/2014
  • "Awesome food and dining experience, as good if not better than the last time."
    Dined on 7/18/2014
  • "Ford Fry was smart to hire Adam Evans as Chef. He commands the freshest of fish & ingredients -- he clearly knows what he is doing. Alas, this is NOT the case when it came to reception. We were sat & then told to vacate our table just as we were ordering drinks! Thankfully the Manager Christopher Blackburn saved the day. What a lovely fellow. This place is loud but the food is on par with NYC and SF. If you can deal with the none-too-knowledgable hostesses -- I encourage you to give it a try."
    Dined on 7/18/2014
  • "Not only was the food scrumptious, I was extremely impressed by the level of knowledge our server had about the menu. His service was outstanding!"
    Dined on 7/17/2014
  • "Took my boyfriend there to celebrate his birthday. The staff did a great keeping the birthday piece a surprise until the end with the candle."
    Dined on 7/17/2014
  • "Very lively spot. Great bar, and bartenders... creative rotating cocktail menu. Grilled octopus was amazing, and the hush puppies are a must try."
    Dined on 7/17/2014
  • "we brought some guests from out of town here and they loved it! The food is great - not too fussy - the ambience is awesome! our server was super nice and not overbearing. We had salads and the lobster poorboy. And of course, for dessert we had the hushpuppies which in my book are awesome for a dessert!"
    Dined on 7/17/2014
  • "Beautiful restaurant space located in the redeveloped west side of downtown. My girlfriend and I went for lunch and absolutely loved it. The mussels are to die for and the portion was huge. We tried the east coast and west coast oysters of the day and we're really impressed with the freshness and quality, not to mention the house-made saltine crackers, hot sauce, and cocktail. We split a lobster roll and salad for an entree, and with 1.25 pound lobster on a very authentic New England style hotdog bun, it was a must have! I would highly recommend this place for any occasion! Definitely my new favorite spot when traveling to Atlanta."
    Dined on 7/16/2014
  • "I had heard a lot about The Optimist and thought we'd give it a try for my birthday dinner. We had to ask for iced tea for my wife several times before they brought it to her. My shrimp appetizer was overcooked and the shells would not separate from the meat and had to be sent back. Our daughter ordered from the "Opportunities" menu and when her raw flounder arrived it also had to be sent back - nothing on the menu stated that it was served raw. My wife ordered the She-Crab soup and later became ill. In my opinion, this is a restaurant that tries too hard. It's obviously very trendy, but that doesn't always equate to a great dining experience."
    Dined on 7/15/2014
  • "The staff was friendly! Management even came by to check on us! The food was also incredible!"
    Dined on 7/15/2014
  • "We have been dining at the Optimist since the beginning…It still thrills! The lobster roll is a must have during lunch. Service always hits the mark. Dessert was a wonderful deconstructed fried peach pie with white pepper ice cream. Such a great meal, worth every calorie!"
    Dined on 7/14/2014
  • "In Atlanta on business and kept hearing this restaurant pop up when locals were talking about a great restaurant so I made last minute reservations. Really didn't know what to expect other than a great meal but I knew when I walked in the door it was going to be a treat. The octopus appetizer was recommended along with the fish and chips, and neither disappointed! Great service and fun upscale casual atmosphere. Will definitely will return on my next trip to Atlanta."
    Dined on 7/13/2014
  • "The food was good. I was expecting the food to be a little better because the restaurant has received great publicity. I would recommend you try it."
    Dined on 7/12/2014
  • "The oysters were fresh; I've grown up on Appalachicola oysters, so getting to try different varieties from Canada was a new experience and one I look forward to repeating. Staff was very knowledgeable and friendly, grouper and redfish entrees cooked perfectly. Wonderful time for anniversary dinner."
    Dined on 7/12/2014
  • "I went with 4 friends during the Atlanta Gift Show. We had drinks which were very good. We had the spicy octopus which was outstanding. We ordered 4 entrees and 5 side dishes for dinner and everyone was happy except for one person who had the monk fish. I was happy with the taste of my halibut and sides but I thought the value for money fell short. The Optimist is expensive and I felt like the portions were small. Desert was good. I don't plan to go back there soon. I might go there if part of a party but doubt that I would organize another expedition to the Optimist. I must say that the service was excellent!"
    Dined on 7/12/2014
  • "This restaurant has been one of my absolute favorites since I discovered it a couple of years ago. It got really crazy for awhile and hard to get into (or just not worth the hassle), but it seems to have leveled out into just being busy (but not impossible to get a table). I was really glad to see that the food is just as good as it was when they first opened. Too often in Atlanta, a restaurant gets hot, and the chefs/owners start opening other restaurants and the quality slips. But despite having King + Duke and all the rest of the Ford Frye restaurants, the Optimist is still amazing. Every dish we had was prepared perfectly, and they haven't lost their ability to create some incredibly nuanced flavor in their cooking. Yum!"
    Dined on 7/11/2014
  • "This was a disappointment. The service was poor, unhelpful, and we were rushed. Not impressive at all. The food is OK. The wine list is bad. It is too loud and has no atmosphere"
    Dined on 7/11/2014
  • "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
  • "This is another great Ford Fry restaurant. The food was amazing. We started with the tomatoes. They were rich, acidic, and sweet. The plate was well balanced. The wine list is well conceived and carries an array of different varietals. I had the gumbo as my second course. I'm from New Orleans and love a good gumbo. The gumbo was chock full of prime ingredients with a kick of heat. The main courses were fantastic. My wife had the scallops and said they were the best she had ever had. Our waitress was very helpful and had a great personality. All the staff was quite pleasant. I will definitely come back."
    Dined on 7/11/2014
  • "The Optimist is by far the best dining spot I have experienced in a long time! The restaurant is the epitome of "coolness" with outstanding food. Great spot for a special date. Loved the decor and the unexpected details, especially the take-away nostalgic orange hotel keys and the putting course outside. Will recommend to all my friends traveling to Atlanta."
    Dined on 7/10/2014
  • "Food was amazing. Took a long time---too long to come out. Same as our last visit."
    Dined on 7/9/2014
  • "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
  • "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
  • "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
  • "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
  • "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
  • "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
  • "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
  • "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
  • "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
  • "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
  • "Good place will recommend to friends. Food was excellent and the service outstandin!"
    Dined on 7/2/2014
  • "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
  • "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
  • "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