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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
Continued
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerSeafood
  • Diners' Choice WinnerHot Spot
  • Diners' Choice WinnerMost Booked
Diner Reviews
  • "From the start, the restaurant created a bad impression. The valet service was a pay upfront - which I almost never encounter - especially at any upscale establishments. The acoustics were terrible inside and it was difficult to have a conversation. The worst part was the food. The chef killed good food with spices and sauces that obliterated the taste. For instance, both the gumbo and fried oysters were rendered completely tasteless due to over spicing in the case of the gumbo and placing the oysters in an exceptionally spicy sauce. We both left the oysters in the plate. Having a house in Louisiana, I am accustomed to gumbo and other Southern dishes with spices. This was just torturing the food."
    Dined on 8/17/2014
  • "Excellent food. The oysters were incredible. Excellent service and the bluberry ice cream sandwiches for desert were outstanding."
    Dined on 8/17/2014
  • "The Optimist is a great find in a re-developing area of the city. With a menu that spans nearly every taste and nothing that disappointed, I would feel confident bringing business guests here as well as sharing an evening with that special someone. My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed the ambiance, the service, the delicious food, and the wonderful libations that capped the night. We both agree that this is one of our best dining experiences at an Atlantan restaurant!"
    Dined on 8/16/2014
  • "Prices are higher than St Cecilia and the wait staff is many notches below Lure. Quantity is absurdly small for the price. Scallops will get you 4 of them for $29.00 without any sides. The 3" square fish filet will cost you $25+. The wait staff is laid back in a bad way. Their dress is jeans, and if they forget to bring bread out; oh well. Limited/superficial knowledge of the items on the menu. Distribute the food in wrong order, go to Lure and compare. Come dressed as nautical preppy. You know, guys without socks in loafers or hairy legged shorts, and some un-tucked shirt. The high ceiling is awesome in this old warehouse building and is impressive to enter. Great layout. Parking guys bottomed out my car on their speed bump!"
    Dined on 8/16/2014
  • "We have been to the Optimist several times and have not been disappointed. The entrees are always fabulous, and Mike's cocktails are delicious. The salted caramel ice cream and chocolate creme brulee dessert are phenomenal."
    Dined on 8/16/2014
  • "My mom, sister, great-aunt, and I enjoyed a very nice dinner here Saturday night. I was the only raw oyster fan in the group, and the oyster bar at The Optimist is worth visiting if you are a raw oyster fan! My family enjoyed the cod, halibut, and octopus dishes, but I would go back for oysters again!"
    Dined on 8/16/2014
  • "I was trying to impress a date for her birthday and boy did I! We both wanted to discover a new restaurant. The food was outstanding! Before last night the best swordfish I ever had was made by my Mother, but she no longer holds that crown. Our server was also absolutely outstanding, never overbearing, but also never gone to long. I wish I remembered his name, I will next time! Our dining experience was perfect. Blueberry Ice Cream sandwiches! C'mon man! They were delicious! Can't wait to go back and try something new!"
    Dined on 8/15/2014
  • "Wonderful drink menue and fantastic oaster bar. A must visit!"
    Dined on 8/15/2014
  • "Great food and ambiance but we were set in an odd little corner near the servers station which diminished the overall experience. Felt like we had been bad children sitting in the corner til we apologized."
    Dined on 8/15/2014
  • "Awesome menu especially after the regular lunch crowd."
    Dined on 8/15/2014
  • "Food was great. Service was good when the waiter was there, but he was hard to find a good bit of the time. Pretty noisy."
    Dined on 8/14/2014
  • "The oysters are great! We ordered the chef selection. They were amazing!"
    Dined on 8/14/2014
  • "It's the trendy, coastal, and vibrant. The cocktails are spectacular and the food is portioned appropriately. Order sides with your entrée, and don't pass up the oyster bar!"
    Dined on 8/13/2014
  • "The number of different kinds of oysters was interesting. The server was informed and excited about the food. I took my daughter there to celebrate her birthday, and we both really enjoyed it. We had oysters on the half shell (3 different kinds), tuna, swordfish and the scallops. Peach pie for dessert. We both agreed that it was one of the best meals ever!"
    Dined on 8/13/2014
  • "Had a great birthday lunch with a group of girls and our waiter took very good care of us. The food was very good as always. I had the ceasar oyster salad which was delicious and the key lime pie-- yum!! The noise level is high, so try and book at off hours if you have a hard time hearing. Great, fun spot!"
    Dined on 8/13/2014
  • "Fantastic. Can't wiat to go back and get the halibut."
    Dined on 8/11/2014
  • "Wife and I had a late reservation Saturday night. Peel and eat shrimp at Oyster Bar were the highlight of the evening. Small portion entrees really disappointed. Bread was dry Hawaiian rolls you get at the grocery story. Swordfish had nice char flavor. Fried rice was decent. Black grouper was salty. Ordered server-hyped Peach Cobbler...soo underwhelmed. Good effort but fell short."
    Dined on 8/9/2014
  • "Great food, very well prepared. My major complaint is the ambience. Enormous restaurant, packed to the gills as this appears to be the hotspot in Atlanta for the time being. Our server was very good, but difficult to rate the service overall as the restaurant was so crowded and bustling. Cannot argue with the food, which was across the board excellent"
    Dined on 8/9/2014
  • "We wanted a nice dinner of oysters and small plates, and we worried about ordering too much food. Our server made sure that every dish came out at the right time. Quite possibly the best 2 hour dinner experience I've had in Atlanta."
    Dined on 8/8/2014
  • "The optimist is still to this day my favorite restaurant in town, but the new construction next door has greatly shrunk the parking lot, making valet parking pretty much mandatory, which equated in a 15 minute line to get our car back. The valet service was greatly understaffed! I'm sure the new car deck being built next door will have space for Optimist guests and self parking again (or at least I hope). It's obviously not for the 2 or 3 bucks, I like to self park when I can because I hate 15 minute lines to leave (we have 3 small children so I want to know I can get home when I want) and other issues. But the good was amazing, we had the best server, and yes it's noisy but in the "vibrant" sense."
    Dined on 8/6/2014
  • "This is one of my favorite spots in the ATL. Thank you Chris and the rest of your amazing team for such a great evening. I was so happy that you can now order the Lobster Roll at dinner. It is one of the best things I have ever eaten by far. Service was perfect and the food was spot on as usual. We were a bit thrown by the valet asking to pay $2 when we arrived. It was not a problem as it was explained to us by Chris the GM that this is a temporary thing. It would have been better if the valet guy told us we could add this to our bill as I had no cash on me; he got quarters. Overall- this minor set back did not upset the evening. I will be back......"
    Dined on 8/6/2014
  • "First time there and it was great. The seafood is fresh, service was perfect and the drinks kept flowing."
    Dined on 8/5/2014
  • "Food and service great as usual...valet situation was a bit of a disaster"
    Dined on 8/5/2014
  • "Loved the food, especially the octopus appetizer and hush puppies. Fish beautifully prepared. Wonderful building and ambience. Tables spaced nicely. Our server, Theodora, was the best - so knowledgeable and personable. And the mini golf course out front -- truly inspired!"
    Dined on 8/4/2014
  • "We loved the restaurant and our waitress, Theodora made the evening perfect. She was knowledgable, efficient and charming!!!"
    Dined on 8/4/2014
  • "Even at late lunch time it is noisy - intolerable on Friday night. Optimist 'slaw' is not slaw-slaw, but a mixture of carrots and some things with a dressing hat isn't good."
    Dined on 8/4/2014
  • "The food at this restaurant never ceases to amaze me. I had the Halibut for lunch and honestly I could have eaten another full entrée of the same, it was crazy good."
    Dined on 8/4/2014
  • "I've been a huge fan since this place opened. Every meal I've had has been amazing, not "just good enough" to make us consider going back. This trip we ordered the whole fried Grunt. Gorgeous presentation! This fish eats shelfish, so along with the herbs and spices cooked with it, when the server fileted it, it smelled and tasted more like lobster, clams, mussels, and crab than fish! Excellent tomatoes, great oysters, delicious wine, and an outstanding dessert. The servers know their product, the ingredients and sources, when the oysters came in, the wines, and they make sure everything's just right without being helicopters."
    Dined on 8/3/2014
  • "Great food. Great atmosphere. Best oysters I've ever had. Hands down."
    Dined on 8/2/2014
  • "Great food and service. Unique dishes prepared to perfection."
    Dined on 8/2/2014
  • "I find the hostess isn't the greatest for seating business parties in the dining room. The entire dining room will be available and they'll place two separate business parties next to each other. Other than that, the food and service are excellent. Just don't be shy about getting a different table than the first suggestion and you'll have a productive lunch."
    Dined on 8/1/2014
  • "It was so nice to experience some new flavor combinations. The oysters were fresh and the entrees woke up my taste buds. Staff were friendly and helpful. Great industrial look, but the noise level was loud as expected in such an open environment. Would love to go back!"
    Dined on 7/31/2014
  • "One of the best seafood restaurants I've been to anywhere in the world. The food was amazing. You have to try the Alaskan Halibut and the hushpupies. The ambiance was very cool. My server was friendly and very helpful in guiding me through the menu. And the cocktails were fabulous. I had an off the menu margarita that was so yummy."
    Dined on 7/30/2014
  • "The lobster rolls are to die for. The oysters are incredible. Desserts--good luck trying to pick one. There were 4 people with us and we sampled several. The caramel salt icecream was my number one followed by the chocolate creme brule"
    Dined on 7/29/2014
  • "We had a lovely meal here on a weeknight. Our server was extremely well-informed, with spot-on recommendations on both food and wine selections. The atmosphere was described as "casually elegant" and that was perfect. I especially noticed the table spacing was sufficient to allow some privacy even though the restaurant was full of diners. I will return soon!"
    Dined on 7/29/2014
  • "The Optimist offers some of the most delicious things I've eaten in a very long time. Absolutely fantastic smokey chowder, delicious mussels, perfectly cooked fish. It's a shame that a restaurant of this caliber would continue to employ servers who don't care about anything. We waited several minutes before seeing a server, then once we ordered our server never came back to the table, not even to check drink refills. Ford, you could've easily made an extra $50 from us if the server had bothered to freshen our cocktails. Do go for the food, but don't expect the level of service that would normally come with such delicious plates. Also, valet service was nothing short of awful. Extreme wait times, rudeness, etc. Avoid the valet at all costs!"
    Dined on 7/26/2014
  • "The food is excellent! My only complaint is their menu changes from time to time which is a good thing but I really wanted the spit cream ice cream dessert and it wasn't on the menu this time. Otherwise this is my absolute favorite Restarant!"
    Dined on 7/26/2014
  • "I love Ford Frye and have been here a several times before. Maybe he is growing the empire too quickly and losing focus at Optimist. It is sacrilegious for a seafood restaurant to have fishy smelling and tasting salmon sashimi. It was in the "Opportunity section." I think I took the opportunity right before it went bad! And the signature dish, Octopus (which is usually perfect at St. Cecelia) tasted mushy - either horribly overcooked or frozen too long. And my entrée Grouper was ridiculously small and also a bit overcooked. There are so many other great options in Atlanta, Optimist is off my list."
    Dined on 7/25/2014
  • "Our group of four had a delicious meal at JCT last night. It was crowded, but not too noisy, and the service was excellent. There was definitely a buzz going on; people were happy and enjoying themselves. We will return again and again."
    Dined on 7/25/2014
  • "We have just moved back to Atlanta after being in Ohio for 14 years, so we are on the prowl for good spots! This was recommended to us by family who have been numerous times. We thoroughly enjoyed our experience -- food was fresh, well prepared, and delicious. Our server (Nikki) was a gem - friendly and efficient. It is somewhat pricey as most things are "a la carte." But, we will be back for a special occasion. You must have the oyster appetizer and the peach dessert. I told Nikki next time I come, I just want two desserts for my dinner"
    Dined on 7/25/2014