The Optimist 914 Howell Mill Rd NW, Atlanta, Georgia 30318
My favorite restaurant in Atlanta, GA. I’m not an expert, by any means, on the Atlanta Restaurant scene, but The Optimist was hands down the best place I have ever eaten in Atlanta and probably this year. Arriving at the restaurant, you are greeted with an outside green area that is a very mini miniature golf course, small tables and fun lodging area for hanging outside.
Once inside you are welcomed by the friendly staff and the retro style of the restaurant. My husband was instantly impressed by the bartender (wish we could remember his name) who was very knowledgeable about the oysters and the wine list. We did order some oysters while we waited for our table. They come with crackers and three sauces. We had a few virgin oyster eaters, which is always fun! I thought they were perfect and everyone enjoyed them.
The dining room is noticeably louder than the bar and outside area, for me it was a bit loud. We were seated at the table facing the the open kitchen, love seeing all the activity. The menu was placed in front of us and my husband and I thought we died and gone to heaven, there were just so many tempting choices.
We decided to start with 5 appetizers. Our two favorites were the frothy she-crab soup with shrimp toast and charred spanish octopus with charred ramp salsa verde, spiced yogurt and pine nuts. If I wasn't so mesmerized by the food, I would have taken more pictures! For dinner I got the scallops, seared to perfection, sweet and tender and the topped with asparagus, bacon, marcona almonds and parmesan. I enjoyed the contrasting textures of the scallops along with the bacon and parmesan crisps. My husband ordered the pork chop, crispy pork belly, bacon jus, preserved cabbage. The presentation and the taste were fine, but he realized he should have chosen a fish option! The sides all sounded amazing, so we of course ordered a few and our favorites were crispy fingerling potatoes, rosemary garlic aioli and bok choy, ginger, pickled peppers .
If you get to Atlanta, GA I would make my way to this restaurant. From the staff who were excited to be serving to the presentation and food it was a great meal - one to remember.
Ponce City Market 675 Ponce De Leon Ave N.E., Atlanta, Georgia 30308
If you have ever been to Chelsea Market in New York, you should get very excited to hear about Ponce City Market. Ponce City is the largest adaptive reused project in Atlanta's history and based on the success of Chelsea Market. 1.1 million square feet of the historic Sears, Roebuck & Company building will be turned into a multi use building that will include retail and restaurants, office space and residential flats. This redevelopment will focus on the preserving historical character of the building at the same time keeping the authenticity of the surrounding neighborhoods and will add parks, walkways, a new BeltLine trails that will link different neighborhoods together.
Most of the market should be open in spring of 2015. Right now its just a construction site with one operating vendor, Dancing Goats Coffee Bar.
Dancing Goats was a great place to stop and relax during our day of sightseeing. It was an old gas station before being repurposed as a coffee shop. The parking lot was converted to a screened in patio with lots of seating, including adirondack chairs, couches and swings. The coffee was Batdorf & Bronson Coffee. It was good, a bit too bitter for me, but everyone else enjoyed it. They offer a plethora of pastries. We picked up their Duck Donuts and homemade poptart. The "poptart" was flaky and buttery but could have used a bit more filling.
Between the people watching and the comfortable chairs, we sat and talked for almost three hours, it was a great spot!
I can't wait to get back to Atlanta to check out Ponce City market, I can just imagine its going to be foodie's dream!