The Optimist

Seafood Restaurant
914 Howell Mill Rd NW (9th St NW), Atlanta, GA 30318, United States
Closed until 11:30 AM (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
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 365 votes

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138 tips. Filter by taste:

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  • oysters
  • octopus
  • beignet style
  • good for dates
  • crab
  • trendy
  • ice cream
  • scallops
  • fish
  • gumbo
  • wine
  • clams
  • romantic
  • spicy food
  • good for a late night
  • cocktails
  • cozy
  • happy hour
  • authentic
  • pork belly
  • Creative Loafing Atlanta

    Gently poached in glorious duck fat, this swordfish steak is all meaty and supple. It's surf and turf 2.0, and one of CL's 100 Dishes to eat in Atlanta before you die.

    Creative Loafing Atlanta · April 25, 2013
  • Creative Loafing Atlanta

    The she-crab soup is a piping hot bowl of buttery froth is packed with crabby ocean flavor. One of CL's 100 dishes, this menu item is filled with sweet and salty notes of emulsified crab roe. Read more

    Creative Loafing Atlanta · April 25, 2013
  • National Car Rental

    Just named best restaurant in the country by Esquire magazine. Great seafood. Cozy oyster bar. Get the garlicky tiny clams and pork belly. They even have putt-putt while you're waiting!

    National Car Rental · January 3, 2013
  • Fadia K.

    Try a little bit of everything! The gumbo and white fish chowder was fresh. Loved the scallops with Oxtails and brown chicken jus. Don't skip on dessert.

    Fadia Kader · February 5, 2013
  • Tirrell W.

    The Lobster Roll is a great light lunch. The BEST Lobster Roll I've had in the city.

    Tirrell Whittley · January 11, 2013
  • AJC

    Must Eat: Soft shell crab cioppino in garlicky tomato broth, potato, clams and corn. Read more

    AJC · November 4, 2013
  • favthingsatl

    Best seafood in Atlanta bar none. Soft Shell Crab is out of this world. And ::what:: the gnocchi side ::might:: be the best gnocchi I've ever had ::again, what?::

    favthingsatl · May 31, 2012
  • Chana L.

    The hush puppies were so good I couldn't stand it. I barely see the point in living without them.

    Chana Leia · April 9, 2013
  • Eater

    Ford Fry's much-hyped fish camp and oyster bar in West Midtown opened in May and has since been the recipient of praise galore. Don't forget to leave some time for miniature golf. [Eater 38 Member]

    Eater · January 21, 2013
  • Andrea J.

    The hush puppies are MORE THAN AMAZING!

    Andrea Jackson · May 3, 2013
  • Creative Loafing Atlanta

    A carefully curated oyster selection so fresh you'd think you lived on the water. It's no surprise the raw bar here made Creative Loafing's 100 Dishes list. Read more

    Creative Loafing Atlanta · April 25, 2013
  • AJC

    Make sure to check out the Whole Crispy Flounder, charred peppers, fried shallots, garlicky ginger sauce. Read more

    AJC · April 24, 2013
  • Taste of Atlanta

    The corn milk hushpuppies are made beignet style and served with cane sugar butter! It's a delicious twist on a Southern classic.

    Taste of Atlanta · September 2, 2013
  • Carly L.

    The east coast oysters and the shrimp a la plancha were phenomenal! Also the hush puppies beignet style are a must try! Amazing restaurant and service!

    Carly Loux · March 29, 2013
  • Tim H.

    Incredible seafood restaurant! Even if you're an oyster noob, the staff is very noob-friendly and gives great suggestions, so try it!! Great for lunch, gotta try the lobster roll!! Excellent flavors

    Tim H · March 22, 2013
  • Rachel

    Great place and guaranteed every time you get your check you'll say.. Whoops!!

    Rachel · August 1, 2012
  • russ m.

    EVERYTHING is sublime. this place, while pricey, is so worth it. take friends and enjoy.

    russ marshalek · May 25, 2012
  • G J.

    Try the Corn Milk Hushpuppies, Beignet Style - Omg

    G J · May 19, 2012
  • 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
  • Chris K.

    Sour cream ice cream is great, get it with the brown sugar cake

    Chris Kelner · April 25, 2014
  • Luke H.

    The ginger in the Monday Night FU on draft is a great summer flavor.

    Luke Hamilton · June 29, 2013
  • Creative Loafing Atlanta

    One of CL's 100 dishes to eat before you die, the Hot Buttered Rum includes actual butter (and rum, of course). Who puts butter in cocktails?! These guys. Read more

    Creative Loafing Atlanta · April 25, 2013
  • Nicole L.

    Striped bass with ham and bok choy is amazing. You have to order a side of the shoestring potatoes!

    Nicole L · March 29, 2013
  • Felix C.

    Be careful turning into the parking lot. The speed bump is pretty high.

    Felix Chuang · March 10, 2013
  • Patrick L.

    Shrimp a la plancha is messy but totally worth it. Try the brussel sprouts, even if you think you don't like them. Oh and the hush puppies, you're a fool if you walk out of here without trying them!

    Patrick Lester · January 28, 2013
  • Emily

    Get the woodfire roasted beets, they rock!

    Emily · August 31, 2012
  • Toreya S.

    The lobster was divine! For once not served with butter! Thank goodness. The octopus was the best I've had outside of Greece. Outstanding!

    Toreya Shea · June 3, 2012
  • G J.

    Try the Fish and Chips

    G J · May 19, 2012
  • 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
  • Caroline R.

    Great lobster roll and oysters. Had an awesome lunch here while I was visiting from New York. Good for business lunches or a more casual meal.

    Caroline Rubin · July 31, 2014
  • Kemba C.

    The Optimist is awesome! I haven't enjoyed a meal like that inATL in awhile. The bread is scary great! The baked oysters were wonderful. Appetizers were fabulous!

    Kemba Cofield · July 4, 2014
  • Brian D.

    You can get the brown sugar cake with ANY ice cream. Try it with salted caramel or Chris Kelner's fave, sour cream ice cream.

    Brian DeWitt · May 20, 2014
  • Victor M.

    It was a great place to eat. I had the duck ham, oysters, and scallops. Menu changes every day so you might not be able to have that.

    Victor Marshall · March 27, 2014
  • Kia P.

    Delamotte champagne and raw oysters. Yummm!!

    Kia Palmer · February 7, 2014
  • Stephen B.

    Great oysters

    Stephen Bentley · December 13, 2013
  • Danny C.

    The triggerfish was the best thing ive ever put in my mouth....finish the meal off with salted carmel ice cream and you're on cloud 9

    Danny Czeczil · November 21, 2013

    New England Haddock, Hush Puppies, Fried Oysters, Brussel Sprouts, and She Crab soup -delicious meal!

    ALESHA BELL · November 12, 2013
  • Matt N.

    The shrimp toast that comes with the she crab soup is everything. The soup is great (very salty) but has no crab meat in it :(. Wommmp wommmp

    Matt N · October 9, 2013
  • Michael K.

    Over seasoned food to make up for poor provisioning by Chef - who happens to have a terrible attitude. If you go, stay outside, eat oysters, wine and enjoy music.

    Michael Kogon · October 6, 2013
  • Anne T.

    Oh so tender grilled octopus, succulent shrimps, hearty scallops with chicken jus & brisket, and out of this world seared & tender raw tuna! One of the better seafood restaurants I've been to!!

    Anne Taillandier · September 19, 2013
  • Susan S.

    The bathrooms are basically unisex, so don't wait for a gender opportunity.

    Susan Scrupski · September 18, 2013
  • Adrienne H.

    #7 on Bon Appetìt's Top 10 Best New Restaurants for 2013. Well worth its place on the list.

    Adrienne H. · September 15, 2013
  • Lori H.

    Get the fried long beans and hush puppies! But.... everything is amazing

    Lori Harris · September 14, 2013
  • Caroline D.

    Beware of the rolls, they're addicting. Try the Fish & Chips, can't go wrong.

    Caroline Dumas · August 9, 2013
  • Charlsie 💚

    Get the charred octopus and wash it down with the mother of pearl cocktail. If you can't get a table, sit at the bar. The seats move quickly!

    Charlsie 💚 · August 4, 2013
  • Jenni L.

    Great lunch menu! Try the caramel salt ice cream for dessert. Yummmm!

    Jenni Loveridge · July 10, 2013
  • DeShonia A.

    The Oysters are amazing!

    DeShonia Agan · July 6, 2013
  • Mary G.

    Literally the best restaurant I have ever eaten at. I live 4 hours away and will be coming back to Atlanta just to eat here. You HAVE to get the mushrooms!!!!!

    Mary Gass · June 24, 2013
  • Charlsie 💚

    Get some west coast oysters. Drink all the drinks. Order whatever tickles your fancy. Make sure to indulge in the hush puppies though. This is definitely one of the best restaurants in Atlanta.

    Charlsie 💚 · June 8, 2013
  • Myers B.

    It's all exquisite. From the ambiance to the cocktails and the food. I especially enjoyed the grilled octopus appetizer.

    Myers Boicourt · April 22, 2013

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