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
546 reviews since May 25, 2014
Overall Rating4.4
  • Food4.5
    Service4.4
  • Ambiance4.3
    Noise LevelEnergetic
91% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
fit for foodies (394)special occasion (288)hot spot (269)neighborhood gem (195)vibrant bar scene (181)good for groups (166)romantic (120)notable wine list (114)great for lunch (105)great for outdoor dining (47)late-night find (41)great for brunch (31)kid-friendly (16)scenic view (8)Show More
  • YUM
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    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.
  • First time
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    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
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011VIP
    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
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    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.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    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
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    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!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    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 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
  • Great Find!
    Stan
    Dined on 9/5/2014
    Our first time was on a Friday evening. It was all it was cracked up to be. Fantastic seafood selections that were moderately price. Great wine list and attentive service. Chef Adam is an ambassador for Auburn University and has done extremely well in culinary arts. Will be highly recommending a The Optimist from this day forward.
    Special Features:
    hot spot, notable wine list, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Fantastic!
    Admiral
    Dined on 9/5/2014
    Everything was perfect! Fantastic food, superb service, excellent cocktails. A great experience. We will be 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
  • delicious menu
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 9/4/2014
    A little pricey, but over all a great find, small but very delectable....great atmosphere and service oriented staff
    Special Features:
    special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Elizabeth
    EBEB
    Dined on 9/4/2014
    What an all around great experience, the service, food and facility all top notch. I have been dreaming about the GA shrimp and sopping toast since we left. Thank you all for a wonderful night, we will be back soon. As a first time diner, we had a lot of expectations going in after hearing so many great things and the Optimist and its warm staff over delivered.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Good but not worth the price
    EllieKVIP
    Dined on 9/3/2014
    This is a fun place to go for celebrations. The oysters are fantastic, in every way they are served including fried, baked and raw. We had perfect service from our waitress. We were somewhat disappointed however in our fish entrees (the flounder and black grouper) as they were overcooked and the flounder was too salty. However the kale salad was delicious and had a little kick to it.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, hot spot, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Love this restaurant!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 9/3/2014
    We had a wonderful lunch at The Optimist! If you love oysters this is a must stop for you. The lobster roll was amazing! The chocolate creme brulee was beyond words. The only disappointment was the gumbo.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Disappointing Second Visit
    teh404
    Dined on 8/31/2014
    I dined with family on my second visit to the Optimist, very excited to introduce the restaurant to someone new. We began at the bar with oysters and cocktails while we waited for our table, as we arrived for our reservation early. We quickly received our drinks but it took over 20 minutes to place our oyster order, with only three other parties sitting at the bar. It became even worse with our server once we were seated. He was very short, rushed us and would disappear for long periods of time. We all have off days but this was pretty terrible. The food was great but the service was such a turn-off. I am hesitant to go back with less forgiving company.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, late-night find, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Disappointed This time
    GemNoMoreVIP
    Dined on 8/31/2014
    The last three or four times, the food and service were excellent. Not sure If my expectations continue to be too high, but I felt the food was okay and our waiter was terrible. Terrible demeanor, not friendly, made customer feel like we were not welcome at all.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great except
    SaltOverload
    Dined on 8/31/2014
    The food is fresh and very tasty except for one redeeming quality. They use too much salt. I discontinued using salt at the table but I still use it very lightly. My salt sensitivity has increased considerably as a result. This still does not excuse the amount used. My wife whom uses slightly said that my dish had far more salt than necessary. I can tell that Sea salt is used but the amount is far too much. The food flavor and freshness was excellent but in today's heart healthy, high blood pressure, diabetic conscious diet aware society this amount of salt is unacceptable. I still would recommend this restaurant with a warning that they request the Chefs "Use light to no salt" and that the customer be able to apply their own amount.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for brunch, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly, late-night find, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, scenic view, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great food!
    JoeyB
    Dined on 8/31/2014
    We have eaten at the Optimist several times now. The food has been fantastic each time and the service is great. Excellent upscale casual dining.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Excellent Service, not good value
    TwostepstevieVIP
    Dined on 8/31/2014
    The service was excellent. The Optimist had other good reviews but we were greatly disappointed. They handle gluten allergies well but the food was not to our taste, it was expensive without good value. We ordered extra items but found the food was not satisfying. Interesting decor, with putters and brightly colored golf balls and an artificial grass putting course in front.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • New menu daily
    Splurge
    Dined on 8/30/2014
    It's that fresh. The Optimist change the menu based on what seafood is flown in each day. You can tell. We shared as many dishes as possible. They were all perfect. Don't skip the oysters or the amazing crafted cocktails. Service from valet, host, barkeep to waitstaff was impeccable.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot, notable wine list, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.