Spacious Spanish: Grilling up Northern Spanish bites in Wan Chai, The Optimist spreads out across three beautifully furnished levels.
Look & Feel: The enormous new space comprises a bar on the ground floor, and two levels of dining space. As you might predict, The Optimist has the carefree, joie de vivre kind of atmosphere where no one seems to be having a bad day. The eclectic and nostalgic decor follows suit.
On the Menu: The bulk of the menu channels Spain’s traditional asador style of grilling meat, veggies and seafood, but there are plenty of other sharing plates as well. Downstairs, the bar specializes in creative takes on nostalgic cocktails and serves its own separate menu.
Meet the Chef: Executive Chef Alfredo Rodriquez brings more than 15 years of culinary expertise to the table, with extensive experience cooking in Spain.
Service: Fast and friendly — no complaints here.
Jeng: The place takes online reservations AND has an incredible space, so it’s pretty much a unicorn. Prepare to go big, or go home — each dish is more filling than the next. Order the gigantic Mariscada seafood tower (from $1,100-1,780), which comes with everything from lobster to oysters. Other highlights include the creamy and crispy ham croquettes and Alfredo’s warm apple pie ($95, named after the restaurant manager), made with spiced apples, crispy crust and a dollop of ice cream.
Not so Jeng: The space is awesome but the food is not a highlight. While the enormous Tomahawk steak ($950 per kg) looks epic, the flavor of the lean Australian angus fell flat and didn’t seem worth the money. Next time, we’ll pass on the bar’s creative yet cloying signature cocktails, and spring for the classics instead — a G&T, an Old Fashioned, or a glass of vino.
Great For: Afterwork drinks and big-ass dinners with friends.
FYI: The name “The Optimist” refers to the owners’ rosy outlook.
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