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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
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerSeafood
  • Diners' Choice WinnerHot Spot
  • Diners' Choice WinnerMost Booked
Diner Reviews
  • "Found the restaurant on Atlanta's top 50 list and was not disappointed. Delicious oysters, swordfish and hush puppies."
    Dined on 8/25/2014
  • "Went to the Optimist for our son's 25th birthday dinner! Oh my gosh - it was absolutely perfect! Amazing atmosphere! Just enough music, liveliness. We were there for 3 hours! The food was incredible - the blends of seasonings and combination of ingredients made everything we ate (all seafood) taste unbelievable. Our waitress took her time in explaining the menu and helping each of us make our meal selections to ensure that our dining experience was fulfilled. I can't say enough good things about it - made for a perfect evening!"
    Dined on 8/25/2014
  • "This was a group of coworkers. It was a team building of sorts. The atmosphere was conducive to relaxation and bonding over food and drinks. The food is excellent. The atmosphere puts the spot over the top."
    Dined on 8/25/2014
  • "Great birthday dinner for my wife...window table, great service, great food...desert with candle to top off the evening."
    Dined on 8/23/2014
  • "The food was great, atmosphere was Great, not too fancy as far as attire"
    Dined on 8/23/2014
  • "The Optimist has everything! Great atmosphere, phenomenal food, killer cocktails. If you're in Atlanta, this is the place to go."
    Dined on 8/22/2014
  • "First the good - the design of the restaurant was carefully planned and beautifully executed. The music was dynamic and the playlist should be downloadable. The cocktails and the wine list were notable. Now, the not so good - the food and service. After our hamachi amuse the food began to falter. The octopus and the fried oysters were aggressively seasoned with jalapeno - to the point that we needed a glass of milk to continue the meal. Fish came cool to the table. A friend joined us halfway through our meal and even after she managed to order an appetizer and a glass of wine it took forever to get them to the table. Once this place gets busy, it seems that service starts to crawl. Despite all the hype, this is a one and done for us."
    Dined on 8/22/2014
  • "Our dinner was awesome! I made our reservation via open table the day of our dinner. I requested 7:30 (crazy I know!) but was offered 5:45 or 9:45. I took 5:45. When we got there and were seated, the restaurant was very quiet and certainly not full. Not sure I would use Open Table again if I could call the restaurant directly and get the time I preferred...the website offered Open Table."
    Dined on 8/22/2014
  • "Be sure to bring cash for parking. Unlike other area restaurants - the valet parking has a modest $2 fee prior to tip. The raw bar has an excellent mahi dish that we would recommend for an appetizer. Once inside the main dining room, fish entree tasted fresh and was thoughtfully prepared. The tomato salad was delicious and was partially sourced from a local farm. The pre-dinner bread was out of this world. Our server attempted to rush us through our meal and showed "bad form" by picking up the check the moment that we had signed the slip; the server soured this dining experience for us. Aside from the sloppy service, we love this neighborhood gem."
    Dined on 8/21/2014
  • "I thought the seafood chowder excellent; the unrequested appetizer brought to my table less than okay (a fish dish with hot peppers); the hushpuppies outstanding; the swordfish a bit overcooked but the remaining condiments on it great. I could not find a draft beer that I wanted, such as Bass Ale or Stella Artois."
    Dined on 8/21/2014
  • "Superb food, clever cocktails. Truly enjoyable dining experience without pretense or affect. Can't wait to go back."
    Dined on 8/20/2014
  • "I was told this is "the spot" and they were right. Great place great food. Not overpriced. Will be back."
    Dined on 8/19/2014
  • "This is one of our favorite restaurants in Atlanta. It was amazing and continues to surpass all expectations!"
    Dined on 8/19/2014
  • "Once again---great service (by Teddie) and great menu offering!"
    Dined on 8/19/2014
  • "The Optimist gets a lot of buzz in Atlanta, and rightfully so. It's convenient to downtown or Midtown in an old repurposed building and Chef Ford Fry's food is exceptional. The roasted octopus appetizer was incredible, as was the selection of raw oysters. The fire-roasted fish were perfect. We didn't get up the courage to try the whole snapper, but it looked great. The only dish that we all thought could have been better was the she-crab soup. The Optimist is considered one of the top restaurants in the south, for good reason."
    Dined on 8/17/2014
  • "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
  • "No sides come with entre's not a steakhouse. Food is good but not exceptional to charge those prices."
    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