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
See all photos
Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerSeafood
  • Diners' Choice WinnerHot Spot
  • Diners' Choice WinnerMost Booked
The Optimist reviews from OpenTable diners
512 reviews since May 1, 2014
Overall Rating4.4
  • Food4.5
    Service4.4
  • Ambiance4.3
    Noise LevelEnergetic
92% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
fit for foodies (360)special occasion (271)hot spot (245)neighborhood gem (183)vibrant bar scene (177)good for groups (145)romantic (122)great for lunch (101)notable wine list (97)great for outdoor dining (40)late-night find (40)great for brunch (32)kid-friendly (13)scenic view (10)Show More
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 8/26/2014
    The ac was on Higuaín... Of i was was siitting in the wrong area but I was cold. The bread was salty.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • jelle
    Dined on 8/26/2014
    We have found the food at the Optimist is always amazing and DELISH!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great lunch!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 8/26/2014
    The lobster roll was perfect and their take on fried rice is not to be missed!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, hot spot, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great southern seafood
    Bbbbbb
    Dined on 8/25/2014
    Found the restaurant on Atlanta's top 50 list and was not disappointed. Delicious oysters, swordfish and hush puppies.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • perfect dining experience
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    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!
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • excellent...
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Birthday event
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    Great birthday dinner for my wife...window table, great service, great food...desert with candle to top off the evening.
    Special Features:
    special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Food
    Toots05
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    The food was great, atmosphere was Great, not too fancy as far as attire
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, late-night find, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good times
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    We had a pleasant dinner at the optimist. The Food was delicious and the ambience just outstanding. The portions of every course are perfectly balanced so that everybody can enjoy appetizer, entrée and dessert.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Syb
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 8/22/2014
    The Optimist has everything! Great atmosphere, phenomenal food, killer cocktails. If you're in Atlanta, this is the place to go.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • The emperor has no clothes.
    Linda
    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.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, late-night find, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • reservations
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    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.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Optimist
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 8/21/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Cinzia
    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.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Terrific fish and cocktails
    weezy335VIP
    Dined on 8/20/2014
    Superb food, clever cocktails. Truly enjoyable dining experience without pretense or affect. Can't wait to go back.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • All it was billed to be
    SNOOKY
    Dined on 8/19/2014
    I was told this is "the spot" and they were right. Great place great food. Not overpriced. Will be back.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, romantic, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Amazing Always!
    Mlt1VIP
    Dined on 8/19/2014
    This is one of our favorite restaurants in Atlanta. It was amazing and continues to surpass all expectations!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, late-night find, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great place for biz dinner
    ATLBuckeye
    Dined on 8/19/2014
    Once again---great service (by Teddie) and great menu offering!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, late-night find, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • Great seafood
    rtpivVIP
    Dined on 8/17/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • globaldine
    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.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2008VIP
    Dined on 8/17/2014
    Excellent food. The oysters were incredible. Excellent service and the bluberry ice cream sandwiches for desert were outstanding.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Very good., but way over priced
    FrequentdinerVIP
    Dined on 8/17/2014
    No sides come with entre's not a steakhouse. Food is good but not exceptional to charge those prices.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • A Gem!
    SouthernFoodies
    Dined on 8/16/2014
    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!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great food but snack beforehand
    gobose
    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!
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Love the Optimist
    Hungrylikeawolf
    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.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Oysters!
    MissFrizzle007
    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!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Wow!
    rmb5602
    Dined on 8/15/2014
    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!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, late-night find, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • GoodFoodOnly
    Dined on 8/15/2014
    Wonderful drink menue and fantastic oaster bar. A must visit!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good but...
    Gracefully
    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.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • great spot for lunch
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 8/15/2014
    Awesome menu especially after the regular lunch crowd.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great food
    billymac
    Dined on 8/14/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • tonyaVIP
    Dined on 8/14/2014
    The oysters are great! We ordered the chef selection. They were amazing!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • One of Atlanta's best
    EssEm
    Dined on 8/13/2014
    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!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Highly recommend
    Dusty
    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!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Always love it here
    KAtlantaVIP
    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!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, great for lunch, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2007VIP
    Dined on 8/11/2014
    Fantastic. Can't wiat to go back and get the halibut.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Not too Optimistic
    FoodiesofViningsVIP
    Dined on 8/9/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, late-night find, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    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
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, late-night find, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Perfect timing
    JDC83
    Dined on 8/8/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, hot spot, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent, except for valet
    Peegeeatl
    Dined on 8/6/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.