The Optimist
The Optimist

The Optimist

  • 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 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
508 reviews since July 29, 2014
Overall Rating4.4
  • Food4.5
    Service4.4
  • Ambiance4.4
    Noise LevelEnergetic
95% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
fit for foodies (386)hot spot (259)special occasion (258)good for groups (174)neighborhood gem (173)vibrant bar scene (147)romantic (124)notable wine list (106)great for lunch (73)great for outdoor dining (43)late-night find (31)great for brunch (15)kid-friendly (10)scenic view (8)Show More
  • AAChicago
    Dined on 11/24/2014
    Unique cocktails and well-thought out menu, The Optimist is perfect if you are looking for something a little different. Bonus points for freshness (always important with seafood) and right-sized portions - not too small or too big. The brussel sprounts and hush puppies are awesome, both dealing a perfect balance between sweet and spicy. The super high celings and wide open dining room don't allow for intimate conversation, but it wasn't super busy so I could hear my companion just fine. All in all, a fabulous experience.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Food and Ask for Rebeka
    30312eaterVIP
    Dined on 11/22/2014
    Food was delicious and they have a great wine list and many by the class. It is a interesting take of seafood, fresh and light. Highly recommend it and the octopus. Best octopus I have had and I have tried a lot.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • Impeccable service!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 11/21/2014
    My husband and I went to the Optimist for a date and were so impressed by the service! Beginning with the bar, they made us feel like we were important even with no open seats and the staff being very busy. The food was pricey but worth it. Everything we tried was great! Especially the clam roll :) We will definitely be back.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Fishy fish, mushy oysters, commercial deserts
    Boomer
    Dined on 11/21/2014
    All three of us were disappointed in our food, from appetizers through deserts. It was particularly offensive to pay this amount of money for poor food (mushy oysters, fishy fish that had obviously been frozen/poorly defrosted, even the potatoes were poorly cooked/burned). The deserts seemed like commercial off-the-shelf items to which the restaurant added a dollop of flavored ice cream or cream. Due to surrounding construction it is difficult to find the place, although we won't be back. Only a true optimist would return!
    Special Features:
    hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • Solid spot for a nice meal!
    BobbyC
    Dined on 11/18/2014
    The Optimist was great for a meal out with a buddy. Started with some oysters, shared two sides, and each had a main dish and two drinks. The place is not cheap. $150 for the two of us, when i feel like it should have been more like $100. Overall though great place to go. I guess you pay a bit for the atmosphere and setting.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • the optimist loves itself
    FoodieM
    Dined on 11/18/2014
    but we didn't love the optimist. Food was ok. Not fantastic. Service was a bit pushy but friendly. The noise level was high and the tables were physically too large and not intimate (bench style seating for two tops with a large table between us and couples flanking closely on either side). Would be a good place to meet for happy hour and have some oysters.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Not bad
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009VIP
    Dined on 11/18/2014
    Heard a lot of good things, so I took some folks to celebrate a birthday. Service was reasonable. Food selections were a bit heavy. Was expecting somewhat lighter fare. The desserts were fantastic. The room is very noisy and you can hear other table's conversations easily. Overall, I would go back. But it was a bit of a disappointment the first time.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Not your usual swordfish
    staywell
    Dined on 11/17/2014
    I've been ot the Optimist before. It's very good - but somehow it fell a little short of its original hype. But I'd been hearing about the swordfish cooked in duck fat - yes, that's right - for a long time. I'm just not a big swordfish fan. But this time, my guest and I said - hey, let's give it a try. Truest me folks, this is the best swordfish you're going to find anywhere. Sure, the restaurant could be a little quieter, a touch more refined, but the octopus appetizer and the swordfish in duck fat are the real deal. Maybe that original hype was on target after all!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Best seafood in Atlanta!
    TheBest
    Dined on 11/15/2014
    Best seafood in Atlanta meets hot bar atmosphere. Amazing place#
    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
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Loved the food and atmosphere
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 11/14/2014
    Would have marked more categories above, but we're from out of town, just ate dinner once, so no experience with other categories. The scallops were amazing - perfect flavor balance; arugula salad bright, fresh, loved the shaved turnips in it; would return just for the salted caramel ice cream.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • JanetVIP
    Dined on 11/13/2014
    Took out of town visitors here for dinner & what a fiasco... Was noisy, overpriced & service not helpful in negotiating the menu. My $27 monkfish entree was delicious, weighed about 4 oz including the fish spine that was included in the cut. When I asked the server about it, she said the chef included it as a specialty item. Come on... Dinner for the 4 of us included one drink each, 2 entrees, 3 starters and cost $60 each.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Forget the Chains!
    LarryBond
    Dined on 11/11/2014
    Want to experience Atlanta's newest seafood restaurant? See you at the Optimist!! Unique and boastful menu, excellent oyster bar, friendly yet romantic ambiance, superb service! My wife and I search for great seafood and we have found the best. This is NOT your chain restaurant. We started with a perfectly made Belvedere martini along with the house bread, and then enjoyed an assortment of ice cold oysters for appetizers. The menu is loaded with original creations. I chose the duck fat encrusted swordfish as the entre. It was the most unique and delicious fish creation I've had in years. The blue potatoes and grille burnt broccoli were a perfect choice for sides. Whatever sauces they used on the vegetables were absolutely perfect. All the while our waiter was attentive without being overbearing. Perfect combination! We have suggested Optimist to several of our friends and all said their experience was comparable to ours, which strongly suggest their efforts for consistancy. We look forward to our next visit to The Optimist.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Outstanding food but spotty service
    zmoney
    Dined on 11/9/2014
    I've been to the optimist twice now, once sitting at the bar, and once for a date night. Both times the food was outstanding, but the service left something to be desired. The charred octopus is amazing. The oyster selection is phenomenal. Order your food with confidence because you will like it. The first time it took about 35 minutes to get our order of RAW oysters. It was a busy night, but our server made no effort to assure us our food was coming. The second time, it was about 15-20 minutes before the servers noticed we had been seated. This was on a Sunday night, so it was not as busy. The wait staff was friendly when they did get around to us, but I had to track them down to order another beer.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great Service
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 11/9/2014
    Reserved via Open Table, noted a nut allergy and an anniversary celebration, they acknowledged both and made sure I was comfortable with the nut allergy. Additionally, we showed up 30 minutes early for our reservation and they were more than happy to accommodate us. Great restaurant, friendly staff, excellent food.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Amazing service and hospitality
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 11/8/2014
    My husband and I heard many great things about The Optimist and we were so happy to find that our dining experience there was pretty representative of our whole trip to Atlanta. Our server was knowledgable and had many great recommendations and her attentiveness to our table of 2 was warm and welcoming. We loved our experience!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2007VIP
    Dined on 11/8/2014
    Been to Optimist multiple times with good luck. Not this time. The service was awful, seating requests were not honored despite repeated advance requests, the waiter was surly and uninformed, not the least bit helpful, actually detracted from the evening--immensely. Many better options.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Once again.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 11/8/2014
    The Optimist is consistently wonderful. We had educated, well recommended, wine at the large bar while waiting for our table. And then moved to dinner for another great meal. The "opportunities" rotating crudo menu is spot on, if not a bit overpriced. Nonetheless, I've never had a bad meal here.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, notable wine list, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • PammyVIP
    Dined on 11/7/2014
    TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE.................. AND I'm TRYING TO BE OPTIMISTIC
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Best restaurant in Atlanta!
    AtlGuy
    Dined on 11/7/2014
    I often have to entertain clients for lunch and dinners. I was absolutely blown away by the experience at optimist. I go there as often as possible now. I have yet to find something on the menu that wasn't incredible. Try EVERYTHING!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, hot spot, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • amazing!
    kmanouki
    Dined on 11/6/2014
    Loved the food, the cocktails. They tailored it to the fall season with the spices they used. My wife and i really enjoyed it coming from los angeles
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • dmc3VIP
    Dined on 11/5/2014
    HAd a reservation for two, but we chose to eat at the bar. Great service to complement the great food.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great food, off location
    DisappointedVIP
    Dined on 11/5/2014
    The restaurant is located in an industrial commercial area. Parking is valet only due to minimal spaces. Food was delicious. Scallops had a wonderful flavor, Sea Bass was light & flaky. Salted Caramel ice cream is heavenly. Service was good. Ambiance is noisy but friendly.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, romantic, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Still a great choice
    AtlantaFoodie
    Dined on 11/4/2014
    This is my third time dining here. While I thought it wasn't quite as good as previous visits, it is still a great choice. Maybe some of the "new restaurant" mystique has worn off, but I did think the food was not quite as good as before.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Never fails
    Chengo
    Dined on 11/4/2014
    We came here for a business lunch, and per usual, The Optimist impressed all. Whether for business or for pleasure, we will be back to dine in the future.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Good food, poor pacing
    Jboss
    Dined on 11/3/2014
    Enjoyed the food. Really well done. The pacing however...needed work. With the exception of dessert, we spent 20+Minutes between courses and that was a bit much. Won't keep me from coming back...but if it was a trend...it may. Again, food was really well done.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • One of the best spots in ATL.
    Awesomist
    Dined on 11/3/2014
    If you like seafood, try the rawbar to start The swordfish in duck fat and pork belly.... no need to say more!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Classy seafood restaurant
    Food4fun
    Dined on 11/3/2014
    If you are looking for a trendy place to dine, then consider The Optimist. Delicious food prepared with beautiful presentations. Excellent service. Lovely atmosphere.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good not great
    Vanillaice21
    Dined on 11/2/2014
    Staff was very friendly. Food was good but if you don't eat pork the menu is limited.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Perfect for Special Occasion
    Dave
    Dined on 11/2/2014
    My wife and I decided to try out The Optimist for our anniversary. We ordered something from each menu from the oyster bar to dessert. When we had a question, our waiter gave great recommendations, so we really enjoyed everything we ordered. It was a great night out and we will definitely recommend this spot to friends. The only possible improvement to the evening would have been a little more space between our table (2-top) and the one next to us... they were a little tight for our taste. All in all, a great find.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Doesn't Match Up to All the Hype
    VarioSquint
    Dined on 11/1/2014
    The food is quite underwhelming. The Arugula salad is very nice, but the lettuce is responsible for that. The service was pretty mediocre. Better fish and chips can be had at Captain D's. The atmosphere is nice though if a bit too loud.
    Special Features:
    romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great!
    mmaxs
    Dined on 11/1/2014
    We went to the Optimist after reading rave review and magazine articles. The oysters were phenomenal - baked and raw. The mahi mahi that my husband had was delicious. My cobia was cooked to perfection, but after a few bites the salt hit me. It was way over-salted and I told the waitress and she promptly removed it from the bill. The hush puppies on the side were amazing. For dessert we had the creme brûlée and it was absolutely outstanding. We would definitely go back.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Extemely disappointed w/Opportunity
    KatPer
    Dined on 11/1/2014
    The Opportunities should be called "a sent" and it is impossible to share 4 razor slices of a scallop as waiter suggests,,,and get a taste. Over priced at $10. Actually insulting to a customer to charge this. We fine dine and are not at all shocked at a price that are worth the experience and foodie experience; we dine weekly at fine restaurants. The Opportunity definitely affected the rating. Main Entrees good and the chocolate creme Brulee was great and not a desert person! The Opportunity definitely affected the rating.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Pretty Good...
    OpenTable Diner Since 2005
    Dined on 11/1/2014
    The food was hit or miss for me. The fish chowder I ordered was bland and "just okay" but the Grouper was SUPERB and perfectly cooked! the Sweet potatoes were better than the fingerling potatoes which were kind of salty but the salted caramel ice cream was DELISH! Overall, I would come again but it wouldnt make my favorite restaurants list.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 11/1/2014
    Awesome raw bar very fresh oysters and nice variety , with flavor descriptions to assist your selections ,excellent fresh seafood, great service , I will be coming back for sure
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great food and cocktails
    eviec
    Dined on 10/31/2014
    We went for the Halloween function - unfortunately the weather didn't cooperate, but there were plenty of people in costume and delicious food to be had. A number of people were in costume, including the staff and it helped make the night fun. We split a bunch of appetizers so we got to try a number of different things. I would definitely go back.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Pricey
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 10/31/2014
    The food was good, but overpriced for what you get
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2007VIP
    Dined on 10/30/2014
    parking is a problem dining room too noisy for conversation need some sort of sound deadening - please the noise level discourages our wives from returning
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Best seafood in ATL
    FoodfinderVIP
    Dined on 10/29/2014
    Very fresh seafood, beautifully prepared with just the right amount of interesting flavores to bring out the best in the fish, without overpowering. Also enjoyed the kale salad, octopus appetizer and "fried rice" side.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Outstanding
    atlskater
    Dined on 10/28/2014
    Celebrated two birthdays and had a blast. Will definitely go back.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Hidden treasure
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 10/28/2014
    I really have enjoyed every time I have been to the Optimist. I love the food.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate