“Between the outdoor turf lawn—fitted with mini-golf and occasionally a live band—and the indoor oyster bar where chefs work solely with cast-iron skillets and a wood-burning oven, you don’t even need the dinner menu to have a grand time at Ford Fry’s seafood sensation. [...] Your ideal meal: the best lobster roll in the city, stuffed almost entirely with claw meat; wood-roasted oysters blanketed with lemon, Parmesan, and breadcrumbs; and, to drink, a pitcher (yes, a pitcher) of the tea-infused fish house punch.”

Top 50 Restaurants in Atlanta 2015, Atlanta Magazine

January 2016

“The Optimist is just about the biggest, prettiest, first-date-iest seafood temple you can imagine, with the added advantage of offering peel-and-eat Georgia shrimp, which may be the tastiest crustaceans you'll ever put in your mouth. ”

GQ City Guides: Atlanta, GQ

“A soaring, convivial spot, the Optimist has a hopping oyster bar shaped like a surfboard, a first-rate cocktail program, and seafood cooked with old-school expertise over a wood fire. The term Optimist refers to a type of sailing dinghy used for teaching kids, and is an old moniker for a fisherman awaiting his next big catch. But judging from chef Ford Fry's exuberant cooking, it might also be a reference to his outlook on the world.”

Restaurant of the Year, Esquire

“Esquire's own John Mariani even called the opening of The Optimist the most exciting of last year...[G]o; just go. Georgia is on my mind, and I wish I could go back tomorrow.”

A Love Letter to Atlanta, Esquire

“"You’ll find America’s best seafood [...] also in Atlanta, where seafood meets southern society over oysters and putt-putt at the Optimist."”

Best Seafood Restaurants in the U.S., Travel + Leisure

“The old-school fish house has been reborn in this outsize seafood emporium, outfitted in sleek white tile and floor-to-ceiling windows. The vibe of the vast, high-volume space is nautical-chic. The seafood-centric menu is built to match, with head-on Georgia shrimp in a buttery chile-lime sauce and clam and lobster rolls that would make any New Englander proud. ”

50 Best New Restaurants 2013, Bon Appétit

“[The Optimist] has a knack for rich, deeply flavored dishes that will convert the most ardent steak lover. Whatever you do, don't skip the sides, especially the corn-milk hush puppies and basmati 'fried rice.' Sometimes the best meals happen when you least expect them to. It helps to be an optimist.”

#7 Best New Restaurant in America, Bon Appétit

“[In Atlanta] a new wave of chefs is creating a uniquely Southern mash-up of regional and international flavors. Where We're Eating & Drinking: The Optimist.”

Editor's Welcome, Southern Living

“The Optimist's basmati fried rice evokes the colonial Anglo-Indian dish kedgeree, pairing subtly smoky fish with toasted curry powder.”

Trendipedia: Fried Rice Remix, Food & Wine

“Dish to get: The lobster roll, served on a buttery toasted bun, is the best in Atlanta.”

70 Best New Restaurants in the World, Conde Nast Traveler

“Readers Pick Best Restaurant To Take Visitors & Best Seafood”

Best of Atlanta 2014, Creative Loafing

“Another of Ford Fry’s restaurants, The Optimist delivers a variety of seafood ranging from raw oysters and smoked white fish chowder to charred Spanish octopus and duck fat poached swordfish. With an excellent cocktail list and well-educated staff, this west side establishment is an exciting place to be for any occasion. Plus, you can play a quick round of miniature golf while you wait for your table.”

5 Best Restaurants for a Celebration in Atlanta, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“There's more to Ford Fry's nautical seafood temple than fresh Georgia shrimp. Available only at lunch, the squat six-ounce burger (The Opti Burger) is two thin patties made out of skirt steak trimmings ground with frozen butter (for real). Sweet caramelized onions and tangy remoulade add to the burger's intensity.”

#3 Best Burger in the City, Atlanta Magazine

“Looking for a place to eat? The Optimist made AJC food writer John Kessler's pick of 50 restaurants in and around Atlanta.”

Atlanta’s 50 Best Restaurants, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“Named for a kind of sailing dinghy, the Optimist is [Ford] Fry’s best effort to date; I’d even go so far as to say it’s shaping up to to be Fry’s first great restaurant.”

The Optimist Restaurant Review, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“When an appetizer comes with 'sopping toast,' rest assured it's so delish you won't leave a drop behind. At The Optimist, [the] plump heads-on shrimp arrive doused with arbol chile lime butter atop bread. The menu actually says 'messy, but worth it.' Exactly.”

One Hundred & Eleven Must-Try Tastes, Jezebel

“Instagramable shot: The oyster bar's two-hole putt-putt course.”

Get Social Outside, Marie Claire