914 Howell Mill Rd.
Atlanta, GA 30318Neighborhood:
SeafoodPrice: $31 to $50
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org for special event information.
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.Continued
Oh... and if you are not a seafood person, we LOVE meat too! No worries, be optimistic! :) ...Ford and Adam
Oh... and if you are not a seafood person, we LOVE meat too! No worries, be optimistic! :) ...Ford and Adam
Foodspotting photosSee all photos
Awards voted by OpenTable diners
- Diners' Choice WinnerHot Spot
- Diners' Choice WinnerSeafood
- Diners' Choice WinnerMost Booked
The Optimist - Best Restaurants in West Midtown ›
The Optimist reviews from OpenTable diners
532 reviews since May 19, 2014
- Ambiance4.3Noise LevelEnergetic
fit for foodies (381)special occasion (282)hot spot (267)neighborhood gem (190)vibrant bar scene (179)good for groups (159)romantic (116)notable wine list (107)great for lunch (101)late-night find (46)great for outdoor dining (45)great for brunch (33)kid-friendly (16)scenic view (10)Show More
- CostlyOpenTable Diner Since 2010Dined on 9/14/2014Small portions, over-priced. The food was good just not what we expected.Special Features:
- Great Seafood MenuPTCfoodieDined on 9/13/2014From 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:
- Great PlaceOpenTable Diner Since 2014Dined on 9/12/2014The 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:
- Delicious TreatTeresaWDined on 9/12/2014Wanted 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:
- awesome experience!!BattoDined on 9/10/2014love 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:
- Great DinnerScotchSnobDined on 9/10/2014Out 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:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Wonderful experienceCawoojoDined on 9/9/2014We 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:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Fantastic.TrawlerDined on 9/9/2014First 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:I would recommend this to a friend.
- amazing placeflygirlVIPDined on 9/9/2014great food and service. Will be back soon and tell all my friends about this place.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Fantastic food!OpenTable Diner Since 2009Dined on 9/8/2014The 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:I would recommend this to a friend.
- great seafood and oyster barfoodieDined on 9/8/2014the 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:
- OpenTable Diner Since 2012VIPDined on 9/8/2014I'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:I would recommend this to a friend.
- octopus, porgy, monk fish, oh my!HealthyBusinessDined on 9/7/2014I 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:I would recommend this to a friend.
- My very favorite!JanRVIPDined on 9/6/2014I'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:
- Great Find!StanDined on 9/5/2014Our 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:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Fantastic!AdmiralDined on 9/5/2014Everything was perfect! Fantastic food, superb service, excellent cocktails. A great experience. We will be back!Special Features:
- delicious menuOpenTable Diner Since 2014Dined on 9/4/2014A little pricey, but over all a great find, small but very delectable....great atmosphere and service oriented staffSpecial Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- ElizabethEBEBDined on 9/4/2014What 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:
- Good but not worth the priceEllieKVIPDined on 9/3/2014This 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:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Love this restaurant!OpenTable Diner Since 2008Dined on 9/3/2014We 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:
- Disappointing Second Visitteh404Dined on 8/31/2014I 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:
- Disappointed This timeGemNoMoreVIPDined on 8/31/2014The 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.
- Great exceptSaltOverloadDined on 8/31/2014The 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:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Great food!JoeyBDined on 8/31/2014We 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:
- Excellent Service, not good valueTwostepstevieVIPDined on 8/31/2014The 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:I would recommend this to a friend.
- New menu dailySplurgeDined on 8/30/2014It'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:I would recommend this to a friend.
- True to the ReviewsPicaDined on 8/29/2014It was our first time at this restaurant and the experience was outstanding. We were celebrating my husband's bday and they made sure it was special. We had the curvy scoundrel and the shellback for drinks and they were amazing - a bit on the small size but great tasting. The octopus for starters was a very nice surprise. I had the scalllops, which were good, and my husband had the haddock which was more of a complex dish and truly delicious. The hush puppies were delectable and so were the mushrooms. Service was great - they have a wonderful staff that understands their clients needs and are very knowledgeable about the menu.Special Features:
- Big SurpriseDebWVIPDined on 8/29/2014I have been hearing about The Optimist from just about everyone who has been. Imagine my surprise when I DID NOT like the restaurant. It's not that it was bad, okay some of it was bad, but it's just that there are others that are so much better. There were five adults and one child. Let's address the child's meal. Children do not like spicy! The chicken tenders (crust) were inedible for her. Nuff said on that, it's a no brainer. Two out of the five adults ordered fish dishes that had fish that was raw in the middle. Both people had eaten the thinner half of the fish and by the time they got to the thicker part, they discovered it was raw. Too late to send back. The Fish and Chips was excellent, the She Crab Soup was not so much.Special Features:
- Great SpotTrixter76Dined on 8/29/2014Food was delicious, decor and design was great as well. Would definitely recommend this to anyone interested in a night of upscale dining.Special Features:
- a great addition to the WestsidekblytheDined on 8/29/2014We took a friend for lunch to celebrate her birthday, and it was perfect. Our waiter was that perfect blend of being informative and friendly without hovering. The food was good if not diet friendly. Overall, it was a great dining experience.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- samuelVIPDined on 8/28/2014Excellent restaurant, great service, fresh ingredients, great valueSpecial Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Fantastic oystersAnowlanVIPDined on 8/28/2014I've been eating a lot of oysters recently. The oysters at the optimist are the best in recent memory. Served in simple fashion over a bed of ice, fresh daily, and shucked to retain the salt water. Really really nice. The monkfish was amazing also.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Great Restaurant!!!No1FoodieDined on 8/28/2014Optimist is a great restaurant for people who love fine dining, but not dressing up to eat well. It is a casual setting, and the food is phenom!!! Unfortunately we've gotten stuck with the same waitress (who, by the way, is slow as cooking a turkey a couple of times), but because we love the food so much, we endure. Still, the atmosphere is great, the staff is pleasant, and more importantly, the food is worth every penny. We will definitely be back!!!Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Pickled & Peppered to Death!DiningNOTDinningVIPDined on 8/28/2014I keep wanting to like this restaurant but after three visits, I doubt that I'll go back. The menu is full of side dishes that are pickled or over-spiced or vinegared (beets, bok choy), and even their lobster roll was laced with a vinegary essence so the fresh unmistakable taste of the lobster itself couldn't shine through. I also adore a good she crab soup, but the Optimist's frothy mixture is far too thin and watery to satisfy a palate longing for the warm succulence of a good crab bisque. The oyster bar is great but twice I've gotten an oyster that gave up its life long before it arrived on my platter. Not a pleasant experience. Three strikes and you're OUT, Optimist!
- Too PopularJLGOVIPDined on 8/27/2014Can a restaurant be too popular? In this case, YES. The food is excellent - what little there was of it. 4 scallops for $29 and a FEW vegetables. The service was TOO attentive. They removed my bread before I ate it. What's with that? I guess everything must be removed before the next course is served - without asking? And it is so popular -- the noise level is through the roof. Couldn't hear anything without shouting.Special Features:
- FairZanneVIPDined on 8/27/2014I like Optimist but would not order the mussels. They are expensive, tiny (size of a dime) but broth is good. I specifically asked server if they were a good size and was told that they were. Otherwise, good restaurant but expensive.Special Features:
- Great!ATLFo0dieDined on 8/27/2014Sea Food was excellent and creative. Good service. Will be back many times!Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- OpenTable Diner Since 2014Dined on 8/26/2014The ac was on Higuaín... Of i was was siitting in the wrong area but I was cold. The bread was salty.
- jelleDined on 8/26/2014We have found the food at the Optimist is always amazing and DELISH!Special Features:
- Great lunch!jm124Dined on 8/26/2014The lobster roll was perfect and their take on fried rice is not to be missed!Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.