I'm looking for a strong positive word that means the following:

  • Unpretentious
  • Doesn't try to be anything more than it is
  • Unassuming

The restaurant is very _________.

I'm looking for a word that doesn't start with 'Un' and has a really positive connotation. Synonyms like 'simple' and 'genuine' don't quite seem to fit.

  • Perhaps "straight-forward" or "honest"? – Chaim Dec 18 '18 at 19:52
  • Ordinary: with no special or distinctive features; normal. – user240918 Dec 18 '18 at 20:02
  • Be aware of anthropomorphization. It can get weird. The restaurant's décor is very simple. Because otherwise it could mean the food is whatever. – Lambie Dec 18 '18 at 20:09
  • 4
    You have not yet said why the alternatives "don't quite seem to fit." Without knowing your criteria for acceptance, anything suggested would just be a guess. – Jason Bassford Dec 19 '18 at 12:28
  • How many words is "unpretentious"? – Michael Harvey Dec 19 '18 at 19:47

Is modest what you're looking for? Merriam-Webster even says it's a synonym for 'unpretentious':

1 b: neither bold nor self-assertive

4 b: unpretentious

  • 1
    No, not quite. I'm wanting a word that feels a bit 'stronger.' – JAck28 Dec 18 '18 at 19:32

How about authentic? Merriam-Webster includes the following definition:

: true to one's own personality, spirit, or character

\\ is sincere and authentic with no pretensions

which might suit your purposes?


I like humble for this use.

Humble: Having or showing a modest or low estimate of one's own importance.


If you'll settle for a fixed phrase, you could say that it is down-to-earth:

1 : practical • down-to-earth traveling tips
2 : unpretentious • surprised to find the movie star so down-to-earth
definition from merriam-webster.com

  • Or "earthy" in a different form. – mikeY Dec 18 '18 at 22:01

What about sincere?


1a : free of dissimulation : HONEST
b : free from adulteration : PURE
2 : marked by genuineness : TRUE


The word "charming" is often used as a more positive substitute for "humble" or "small," especially in reviews, especially about things related to the hospitality industry.

Alternatively, at least in my part of California, we'd unhesitatingly describe the kind of place you're talking about as "chill."


In the right context, "plain" is the best alternative: "plain speaking"--no frills, straight from the shoulder, as an antonym to "fancy". The usage must avoid ambiguity with the alternative meaning of "plain" as an antonym for "attractive".

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