914 Howell Mill Road
Atlanta, GA 30318
Atlanta is home to many great restaurants, but one in particular has been wowing eager visitors like no other since it opened last month―The Optimist. This seafood-inspired, West Atlanta restaurant serves fresh seafood, beach-themed cocktails, and beautifully plated cuisine in one of the most alluring restaurants in the city.
It feels as if The Optimist was transplanted from an upscale coastal town to the middle of ATL’s bustling southern metropolis. As you make your way past the outdoor patio into the Oyster Bar, its white-washed walls, beach house décor, and mounds of fresh caught oyster on display will seemingly transport you to another location. Projecting a light and airy vibe, the Oyster Bar is the perfect spot to grab a drink before dinner, since there is plenty of space to stand, sit or mingle. Speaking of cocktails, definitely check out their deliciously potent Fish House Punch made with Gosling’s Bermuda Black Rum, Hennessy VS and Leopold Brothers’ Peach Whiskey.
The main dining area maintains the same nautical theme, but exudes a relaxed, yet luxurious feel. To add, the waitstaff, who are casually dressed, evoke a comfortable ambiance and offer first-hand opinions on the menu helping to guide ardent diners in making the best menu selections.
I happily tried a few of the eye-catching appetizers―the delicate and frothy she-crab soup served with crunchy shrimp toast; the Georgia White Shrimp a la plancha served whole; the tempura fried, crispy long beans with creamy buttermilk dill dipping sauce; and the mouth-watering twin lobster rolls made with cold, fresh lobster salad. For the main course, the perfectly seared Maine Sea Scallops with oxtail marmalade and the flaky Alaskan halibut served alongside meaty, wood-grilled Hen of the Woods mushrooms were certainly worth coming back for a second trip.
The dessert list was short, boasting four unique, handcrafted delicacies including the grilled pound cake drizzled with hot fudge and crunchy fried peanuts, and the warm buttermilk cake doughnuts served with cool, sweet corn ice cream and hot pepper jam.
The Optimist is the third restaurant birthed by esteemed Chef Ford Fry (JCT Kitchen, No. 246), but taking the day-to-day rein in the kitchen is the talented Chef Adam Evans –who certainly ensures a one-of-a-kind dining experience.