The Optimist

Seafood Restaurant
914 Howell Mill Rd NW (9th St NW), Atlanta, GA 30318, United States
Closed until 5:00 PM (Show more)
  • Mon–Thu
    • 11:30 AM–2:30 PM
    • 5:00 PM–10:00 PM
  • Fri
    • 11:30 AM–2:30 PM
    • 5:00 PM–11:00 PM
  • Sat
    • 5:00 PM–11:00 PM
  • Sun
    • 5:00 PM–10:00 PM
$ $ $ $
Lunch, Dinner, Happy Hour
Beer, Wine, Full Bar, Cocktails
Credit Cards:
Yes (incl. Discover & Visa)
Outdoor Seating:

The Optimist's menu focuses on sustainable seafood prepared in a wood-burning oven. Adjacent to the new restaurant, Fry has opened Oyster Bar at The Optimist, a more casual "fish camp" style venue, featuring an outdoor patio, live music and an oyster bar.


Based on 472 votes

People like this place

  • What you need to know
    Kim G.
    "Lobster roll, French Malbec and the octopus at the bar - fantastic"(15 Tips)
    G J.
    "Try the Corn Milk Hushpuppies, Beignet Style - Omg"(4 Tips)
    Carly L.
    "The east coast oysters and the shrimp a la plancha were phenomenal!"(4 Tips)
    May ..
    "The clam roll, mussels, kale salad, oysters, seafood..."(3 Tips)
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  • Recent
  • Popular

158 tips and reviews.

  • Filter by taste:
  • all tips and reviews
  • oysters
  • good for dates
  • octopus
  • beignet style
  • trendy
  • authentic
  • lively
  • gumbo
  • crab
  • romantic
  • scallops
  • healthy food
  • fish
  • wine
  • ice cream
  • cocktails
  • good for a late night
  • cozy
  • clams
  • happy hour
  • Richard F.

    All the seafood I had was amazing. Never had octopus before but now I know it's delicious. Large groups are served family style.

    Richard Fisher · 2 weeks ago
  • Chris S.

    If you walked out without trying the charred octopus, dear reader, you should consider an about face and march back to this seafood gem.

    Chris Steele · October 19
  • Anayenssi

    The best place and most delicious !!!

    Anayenssi · October 15
  • Laurissa

    Everything I've had here is good!

    Laurissa · October 14
  • @nathantwright

    Fantastic seafood and the atmosphere has a youthful, fun vibe. I recommend the swordfish (if available) and a side of hush puppies.

    @nathantwright · October 2
  • Drew N.

    The oysters are awesome. They arrange them on the platter from east coast to west coast. Super cool.

    Drew Nys · October 1
  • Olivia F.

    good atmosphere- delicious kale salad, good mussels, she-crab soup was ok but boring, swordfish was bad. Hush puppies are to die for! But something left my stomach feeling weird

    Olivia Fabbro · August 21
  • Brookes S.

    All of it is good. Basmati Fried rice and Chowder fries are nice wrinkle

    Brookes Stephens · August 14
  • TJ

    Fresh seafood. Great service. Drinks are good too. Definitely a place I will return & try other menu items.

    TJ · August 5
  • David M.

    Everything was delicious. The octopus, shrimps, oysters, the fish poached in duck fat, even the dessert. This is a must to visit in Atlanta

    David Montero · August 5
  • May ..

    The clam roll, mussels, kale salad, oysters, seafood gumbo,and scallops. Everything was fresh and delicious. Fantastic! My best meal in Atlanta. The atmosphere is definitely trendy, hip and modern

    May . · August 3
  • Tracy B.

    Best place I've ever eaten at.

    Tracy Bresson · July 25
  • Monica Z.

    Surprise, the opti burger is one of the best burgers in atl! And the key lime pie is perfect.

    Monica Zarate · July 17
  • JamieLynne W.

    They have a fantastic oyster menu - the Tatamagouche are wonderful!. Try them! If you don't have a reservation, they have full service at the bar. The bartenders are friendly and attentive.

    JamieLynne Weiss · July 15
  • Michael S.

    Everything is good

    Michael Stamps · July 3
  • Sharon F.

    Go here when you are craving lobster roll!

    Sharon Ferguson · June 25
  • Matt N.

    Lobster roll here is amazing.

    Matt N · June 24
  • Julie

    Clam roll was delish! Could be a meal with a side. Great drinks!

    Julie · June 20
  • Theis R.

    The Octopus is really, really good! Also recommend the Swordfish poached in duck fat.

    Theis Rodian · May 27
  • Tracy B.

    Best food on all of Atlanta and the bartenders are all so friendly!!!

    Tracy Bresson · May 17
  • Elizabeth C.

    Love, love love this place! Fantastic food, great service.

  • Creative Loafing Atlanta

    Try the Hot Buttered Rum cocktail here. It's hot and sweet with a lump of brown sugar dissolved in hot water, doused in a healthy dose of the Kraken spiced rum. Read more

  • Nick B.

    Great wine selection.

    Nick Bianchi · February 21
  • ed p.

    Perfect destination for big nights! Spicy octopus is one of the best dishes in Atlanta.

    ed peterson · February 18
  • Uchien U.

    You have to dress up lol

    Uchien Uchien · February 16
  • Lewis J.

    Oysters, seafood, fish, and amazing crackers!

    Lewis James · February 12
  • Laurie L.

    Food was fabulous but Dion our server was the best! The whole fish black bass was incredible and the brussel sprouts were some of the best I've had! This place is a must try and ask for Dion!

    Laurie Luckie · February 10
  • Jack S.

    The menu changes everyday, tough to recommend anything specific. But, I've been here many times and have always had a phenomenal meal. Can't go wrong if you love seafood as much as I do.

    Jack Scotty · January 29
  • Creative Loafing Atlanta

    Thanks to this spot, there's a solid place to go for a carefully curated oyster selection so fresh you'd think you lived on the water. Pair them with a crisp glass of craft beer. Read more

  • Kevin P.

    Wonderful lunch destination!

    Kevin Patillo · December 22, 2014
  • debra w.

    Braised and grilled octopus in Spanish sauce. Delectable.

    debra woelfel · November 24, 2014
  • Justin P.

    Amazing seafood.

    Justin Powell · November 24, 2014
  • Steve J.

    The Grouper is excellent, as are the Brussels sprouts and peel-and-eat shrimp.

    Steve Jones · November 23, 2014
  • Genon S.

    Lobster Roll

    Genon Snelling-Jester · November 22, 2014
  • Genon S.

    Lobster Roll!

    Genon Snelling-Jester · November 22, 2014
  • Meredith B.

    Even their rolls are delicious. Best seafood in town, great ambiance, and great bar scene

    Meredith Blechman · November 20, 2014
  • Cody M.

    Tried raw oysters for the first time here, found a new favorite food. Much better than fried. Hush puppies are a must, and give the broccoli with crispy shallots a try, delish!

    Cody Moore · November 14, 2014
  • Demi B.

    If you're lucky enough, you must do in at this incredible oyster bar! Pickle point & east beach blonde oysters! And you gotta have the halibut!

    Demi Black · October 15, 2014
  • Yaqui N.

    Belon Oysters from Maine were to die for.

    Yaqui Nunez · October 12, 2014
  • Epicurious

    Don't let the airplane hanger-sized dining room fool you, the adjacent oyster bar is plenty intimate. Grab a stool and hone in on whatever chef Adam Evans has on the raw bar menu that night. Read more

    Epicurious · October 2, 2014
  • TV Food Maps

    Check out The Optimist as seen on Unique Eats Read more

    TV Food Maps · September 3, 2014
  • Simon L.

    Great service. .look for Teo server. And don't forget to try the gumbo.

    Simon Lee · August 28, 2014
  • Chefs Feed

    Anne Quatrano, chef of Abattoir, eats here on her nights off. She loves the Garlicky tiny clams & pork belly. Read more

    Chefs Feed · August 22, 2014
  • Marty S.

    Try the blackened fish sandwich with hushpuppies

    Marty Styles · August 21, 2014
  • Kaitlin T.

    Yummmm. The chowder was fantastic. The menu changes frequently to accommodate fresh items but I can't imagine you could go wrong with anything.

    Kaitlin T · August 7, 2014
  • Annie G.

    Say yes to east coast oysters.

    Annie Green · August 7, 2014
  • Chris W.

    The seafood is all good

    Chris Wren · August 6, 2014
  • Anthony C.

    Try the hush puppies!

    Anthony Cooper · August 6, 2014
  • Creative Loafing Atlanta

    Most of the appetizers are well more than $10 each. Read more

    Creative Loafing Atlanta · August 5, 2014
  • Creative Loafing Atlanta

    I ate well and, although a bit disconcerted by a $40 bill for two (including tip and no appetizers or alcohol), I couldn't bring myself to say the lunch wasn't worth every penny. Read more

    Creative Loafing Atlanta · August 5, 2014

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