The Optimist

Ford Fry delivers his finest restaurant yet with this sophisticated seafood house. Fry and designer Smith Hanes outdid themselves with an elegant, subtly nautical redo of a Westside warehouse crowned with an evocative vaulted ceiling. Go heavy on starters and small plates—a platter of West Coast oysters, perhaps, followed by shrimp a la plancha doused with a creamy tomato sauce revved with arbol chile and lime. The adjoining oyster bar (which opens for dinner during the week and at 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday) serves the city’s most luscious lobster roll. 
Best of Atlanta 2013
Ford Fry’s finest restaurant appeals to every kind of seafood lover: the fish-and-chips old liner, the local-catch sophisticate, the peel-and-eat sensualist. Start with fried oysters or smoked whitefish chowder, and don’t overlook sides like “beignet-style” hushpuppies and basmati rice fried with smoked fish and egg. Lunch is ideal for power meetings, and dinner always feels like an occasion – the crowds never slow, even early in the week.