The Optimist

4.8
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5725 Reviews
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$31 to $50
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Seafood
The Optimist brings a seaside fish camp experience to landlocked Atlantans. The ever-changing menu features high-quality, sustainable seafood masterfully paired with fresh, local ingredients. From sophisticated, daily-catch dishes to crudos and beachside classics, chef-owner Ford Fry’s the Optimist transports guests to their favorite coastal haunts. Enjoy $1 Oyster Happy Hour on the patio or in the oyster bar Monday – Friday starting 5 – 6 p.m. and Saturday and Sundays from 3 – 5 p.m.

Specials

Valentine's Day Special Menus & More

The Optimist will be offering a pre-fixed Valentines Day menu for $85 per person as well as a special Wine Pairing option for an additional $30 per person.

Friday, February 14, 2020

What 5725 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.8based on recent ratings
4.8
food
4.7
service
4.7
ambience
4.3
value
Noise · Moderate
94% of people would recommend it to a friend
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ES
Naples
482 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience4

We think The Optimist has the freshest seafood in town and a great selection. Tonight the food was delicious as ever but I have waited too long to write this review and I honestly forget what we had. We did do shared appetizers which everyone enjoyed and one dining companion and myself shared a Spanish style seafood stew. The shared entree was large enough to for each of us. Our server, Christian, was also polite and knowledgeable and took good care of us. There are lots of restaurants in ATL and I would count The Optimist up in the ranks. I know we returning enough that we dined here twice in a week. Oh, one issue. We had one gluten free diner who ordered fried rice as a side. Before he attempted to taste it, the person who served it came over and announced it had soy sauce in it and not good for a gluten free diner. Our mistake for not asking.

OT
Atlanta
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Thanks Bryce!

OT
Atlanta
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The best part about The Optimist was the vibe and the food. It has a relaxed and industrial feel. The food was exceptional. I got the octopus with a side of grits. They were both some of the best I’ve had. There really isn’t anything bad I can find to say except for the steep prices. Total meal for 2 was $150 (including a bottle of Prosecco).

OT
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall3food3service3ambience1

Restaurant was far too loud. For the price, the meal was nothing special. I could not believe how small the swordfish was.

MB
Atlanta
2 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Our third visit and certainly not out last! Great food and service in a really lively setting. Cocktails were excellent. If u want a little quieter ask to sit behind the bar and enjoy the great windows back there. Don’t miss the hush puppies. Generous portion so great to share. Oysters were fantastic as well and four different entrees were all excellent in our party. Valet parking super convenient too.

l
Atlanta
11 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Our server Daniel was excellent. Great recommendations, excellent service, fish was perfectly prepared , we had the whole branzino, ribeye, octopus, oysters, and dessert.

CC
Atlanta
18 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Food was amazing and service even better!!!’

d
New York Area
11 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Always a great meal

H
Greensboro
3 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food was amazing ! The staff work together as a team and altogether make a wonderful experience.
I would definitely recommend this restaurant. We had a lovely time!

OT
London
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall1food5service4ambience4

Food was delicious and service was impeccable. However, was overcharged for tips by more than triple.

For an ~110 lunch for 3, I gave a tip of $20. However, was charged $40 of tips instead which is absurd. This is not the first time this has happened at this restaurant - I gave it a go the first time thinking it was an accident but two times is too much. Please check your credit card statement to make sure there's no extra charge.

Once again, food and service was good - but I do worry about their ethics if you choose to dine there.

KL
Atlanta
4 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall4food5service4ambience4

The food took a while to get to us, but our server was great.

OT
Chicago
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall5food4service4ambience4

The staff could not have been nicer. We dine there 2 times a year when we are in town and always left saying great food great time and great service. The octopus is amazing !

OT
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Business dinner for out of town associates. Love the high energy atmosphere. Incredible menu including the fresh bar and wine list. Everybody ordered something different and each dish was amazing. Outstanding customer service starting with hostess, bartenders and wait staff. Highly recommended to local friends and anybody visiting. Can’t wait to come back.

C
Richmond
35 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food. Fish is always excellent. Fabulous brussel sprouts. Wonderful wait person. Negative is the a la carte menu drives up the tab and the wine list has almost nothing under $50 a bottle.

IM
New York Area
6 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall3food3service3ambience4

I wanted to love this restaurant. I have always wanted to go when I visit ATL and I’m sorry to say it doesn’t live up to the hype. This restaurant itself is very cool and the wait staff of awesome. The hostess are very rude and made fun of our party prior to sitting down. I understand last minute our party went from 7 to 5 people and that is frustrating. I apologized two times but she was still making gestures, and loudly talking about us amongst the other hostesses. It was odd, but I was still excited to eat. I thought a martini and oysters would do the trick. Nope. The drinks are very sweet and the food is very salty. The fried oysters are very goods but the baked ones are just fine. We got a shellfish tower but they couldn’t tell us what oysters were on it except that they were east coast. Everything on the shelf fish was just fine. The fennel salad was very odd. I love fennel but it doesn’t pair well with the dressing. Main courses were all salty. A few of us couldn’t eat our dishes. The potatoes with béchamel has no flavor at all. Just a disappointing place. I heard great things from people so I’m a little perplexed

IK
1 review
Dined 7 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

noise level is very high ot seems we are in Dave and buster. we spent $160 for 2 on dinner and i would rather spent money on where i can sit with little decent noise environment.
food was great and lobster roll was cold.it would be great if choice given to us for hot and cold.
also service is good but very slow.
it takes long time to order and get the final check.

OT
Atlanta
2 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Tremendous! We enjoyed the whole prawns, she crab soup, jambalaya, octopus and oyster assortment. Great service.

w
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on January 14, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

my sister raved about it as we were passing it on our way to bar taco. the server "gary" was extremely patient with my 21 yo niece who had an attitude because she has a shellfish allergy and didn't like or couldn't eat anything on the menu. this was impromptu or we would not have brought her(coming from ikea)

LF
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on January 14, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

It is impossible to go wrong with any seafood selection.

OT
Atlanta
13 reviews
Dined on January 13, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

My server Mark was personable and prompt. The food and cocktails were great!

NV
1 review
Dined on January 12, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We had a fantastic time! I’m doing dry January and I let my server Julia know that I wouldn’t be drinking and asked if they had mocktails. They did! She asked what flavor profile I was looking for (tart, sweet, citrus, fruity) I told her tart and citrus and she bought me the perfect mocktail. I felt like it had been created for me. The appetizers were excellent. We had the hush puppies, the chowder and their house made cheese (I can’t remember the name of the dish). I had the grouper which was nice an crispy on the outside and tender and flaky on the inside. The smoked navy beans were to die for. My friend had the Benzino and the pairing of the citrus with the delicacy of the fish went perfectly and the presentation was gorgeous. Will definitely be back and bring more friends! Julia was amazing and was very knowledgeable about the menu. Thanks so much for a lovely dinner!

VD
1 review
Dined on January 12, 2020
Overall3food1service3ambience2

After many years of wanting to dine here, we finally made it. Needless to say our expectations were high based off the many 5 star reviews. Sadly, we were thoroughly disappointed. We tried 10 different items off the menu and out of that only 1 item (baked oysters) were good. Everything else lacked flavor. The value for your money is definitely not worth it here.

WE
Atlanta
31 reviews
Dined on January 12, 2020
Overall3food5service4ambience4

I hate to say it, because we generally enjoy the Optimist, but a bit of a disappointing experience. Our server was very nice and helpful. The grouper was just “so so” ... was rather cold when delivered and not great on flavor. Our friend’s martini was not made as requested - they fixed it - but should have been right the first time.

Frankly I guess I just expect more from Ford Fry’s restaurants. Particularly for the price.

I’ll try them again, and hope the experience is better next time.

FT
Charleston
10 reviews
Dined on January 11, 2020
Overall2food4service1ambience2

Sat us in seating with a giant window and street light blasting into your eyes. No curtains. Service was terribly slow. Food was amazing but portion to value was not worth it. Flavor was outstanding and the oysters were perfect.

B
Atlanta
54 reviews
Dined on January 11, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

we have been regulars at Optimist since it opened. we took a couple who had not been there and not only did they love it, we thought it was the best meal we have had there--craft cocktails, oysters, halibut, poached swordfish/short rib, fried basmati rice, chocolate dessert, Kistler Les Noisetiers Chardonnay--everything was outstanding!

SB
Atlanta
2 reviews
Dined on January 11, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The Optimist always offers high quality seafood that stands on its own. The preparations are simple and elegant; not overdone. There is something for every palate. The chef is on point with his understanding of how high quality seafood does not need a lot of "sauce". Cheers to the Optimist!

OH! And the service is always fantastic. The servers know the menu and are willing to help you make the right choice for your night out.

OT
Atlanta
2 reviews
Dined on January 10, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Graduation celebrations

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T
Atlanta
39 reviews
Dined on January 10, 2020
Overall5food5service4ambience4

Another great dinner at Optimist. fantastic oysters, salad, smoke chowder and halibut and mahi. Well done as always.

B
New Orleans
4 reviews
Dined on January 9, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great service from hostess to server. Much pride in the restaurant and menu offerings. Ashley knew the menu and made an effort to fit me with the perfect selections. Loved the fresh baked bread, Old Fashion - bourbon & rye, Crispy Spanish Octopus & Duck Fat Poached Swordfish!

MA
Atlanta
38 reviews
Dined on January 8, 2020
Overall3food3service4ambience4

Something seems to have gone haywire at The Optimist. Long a vaunted culinary establishment, we found our dishes to be overly salted and dry. Such a surprise. They need to fix this fast.

OT
Atlanta
4 reviews
Dined on January 8, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Amazing food, excellent service.

OT
1 review
Dined on January 8, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I took my friend out for her birthday and we REALLY enjoyed ourselves! The food was amazing and the service was impeccable.

WH
1 review
Dined on January 7, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Awesome. Wonderful. Ace. Amazing. Legendary. Great. Fantastic. Sick. Unbelievable. The best. I like The Optimist.

M
Houston
3 reviews
Dined on January 7, 2020
Overall3food3service5ambience4

Great manager, great server! Food was just good not great so it was priced a bit high for what you got. Monkfish was sent back. Over cooked. Second try a bit better. Swordfish is supposed to be their specialty. Just foos not great.

OT
1 review
Dined on January 7, 2020
Overall4food3service5ambience5

Really good and tasty food but found everything too salty !!

DF
Charleston
1 review
Dined on January 7, 2020
Overall4food4service3ambience4

Service was ok. Not my favorite restaurant second time I have been here and I felt the same the first time. Love the name, so I keep giving it a chance.

CC
Las Vegas
6 reviews
Dined on January 7, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

You always get the TriFecta at The Optimist
Service- Great Food - The Vibe Ambience

OT
1 review
Dined on January 5, 2020
Overall2food2service3ambience5

Went a little late... close to closing. Not really impressed with food but could be due to getting there 30 mins before they closed on a Sunday. I ordered oven roasted chicken for $30. Did not taste worth the cost. Entree’s do not come with sides. Must buy sides separate. This was a date for a birthday which they do not do anything special for. The staff did at least acknowledge the birthday. I did enjoy the ambiance, low lighting candle lit dinner.

OT
1 review
Dined on January 5, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Perfect. The food and ambiance were great. Service was extriadonary

SW
Atlanta
1 review
Dined on January 5, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The best place to get oysters from all over the country! Service was outstanding...never rushed, let us take our time and enjoy our experience. We go to the optimist a few times a year and it never disappoints. Swordfish and scallops are the way to go! And Michael makes GREAT drinks! Go. Enjoy!