A Cozy Restaurant in Portugal Is Consistently Voted Europe’s Best Rooftop

Perched atop one of Lisbon's famous hills, Lumi Rooftop is a gorgeous place to enjoy Portuguese home cooking and delicious cocktails.

Lumi Rooftop

Courtesy of Bomporto Hotels

When chef João Silva assumed leadership of Lumi Rooftop, he wanted to do things differently. In Silva's words, "unpretentious and humble kitchen ingredients" are enough to make Portuguese bites, known as petiscos, shine. 

The Lisbon rooftop has consistently been voted Europe's best (in 2021 and 2023), so during a month-long stay in the city, I visited the restaurant to experience the hype. Nestled in the heart of Bairro Alto at the top of one of Lisbon's notorious seven hills, Lumi Rooftop Restaurant and Bar, a concept by Bomporto Hotels, is a love letter to Portugal.

Lumiares Hotel & Spa, which houses Lumi, is known for giving old buildings makeovers, and is also behind the Vintage, another award-winning hotel 15 minutes up the street. 

Previously a derelict 18th-century palace, the hotel remodel pays homage to the community's colors, patterns, and light. So accustomed to bougie rooftop spectacles, I opted for my fringe leather jacket instead of my cozy jean jacket when venturing to Lumi. I arrived practically covered in sweat after hiking the hill, but surprisingly, I was met with no long lines and an incredibly friendly waitstaff. 

Drinks from Lumi Rooftop

Ashia Aubourg

Lumi bustles with conversations and a faint playlist of neo-soul with a few Portuguese classics. The place is welcoming to families, and small children can order from a kid-friendly menu. (I soon realized that a sweatsuit, rather than a leather jacket, would have sufficed.)

A thoughtful yet homey environment, Lumi's interior has a soothing color palette of limes and light yellows. The indoor open-kitchen format leads to stunning outdoor panoramic views of Lisbon and gorgeous surrounding mountains. Hues of terracotta tiles and lush green forestry paint the surrounding picture. 

While peeking into the kitchen, I found comfort seeing chefs from places like Angola and Cape Verde. It let me know that the chefs’ experiences expand beyond Lisbon's borders. 

Born in central Portugal, Silva has worked in a number of Michelin-starred restaurants, and a few of the chefs on his team have worked alongside him over the past decade. Silva tells Food & Wine that he is deeply connected to his team, who “fortunately have been there since the beginning.” 

Roasted Octopus from Lumi Rooftop

Ashia Aubourg

His time working on a local farm, Quinta do Arneiro, proved to be a pivotal moment in his career. "I worked for an organic farm where the menu changed weekly," says Silva. He explained that working with ingredients straight from the dirt humbled him and opened his eyes to a new form of living.

"It was a cool and amazing time, and when I came to Lumi, of course, I brought this with me," says Silva, who aims to source everything locally. 

All of the chef's dishes connect in some way to Portuguese homestyle cooking. The tender roasted octopus and crisp tuna ceviche, for example, is "from the Algarve." His pica pau, stewed beef in Portuguese beer and pickle juice, is his ode to Portuguese comfort food.

More menu highlights include the peixinhos da horta, a dish of fried green beans, as well as roasted bacalhau, a salt-cured cod fish that’s abundant on every Lisbon menu. Silva shares that the codfish à brás at Lumi "was invented in Bairro Alto."

Lumi Rooftop

Courtesy of Bomporto Hotels

Lively from sunrise to sundown, Bairro Alto exudes party energy, which makes the more relaxed Lumi somewhat unique in the neighborhood. However, while the rooftop has a wholesome, welcoming vibe, the cocktail menu nods to the community's energetic spirit. 

The Lumi Negroni, inspired by Madeira honey cake, gets spun up with Portuguese vermouth, infused gin, Madeira wine, sugar cane, honey, and orange zest. The Bairro Alto Twist, a whipped dry shaken cocktail, gets crafted with infused gin, basil syrup, lime juice, and egg whites. 

Even though it is a buzzy rooftop bar in a neighborhood known for its parties, Lumi is not trying to be yet another ridiculously exclusive, swanky rooftop. Instead, Silva and his team simply want to serve homestyle Portuguese dishes and delicious cocktails with fun twists. 

When asked how it felt to have Lumi recognized as the best rooftop in Europe over the past few years, Silva says, "It's great to be seen as the best in Europe, but to be honest, even if my mother was telling me this, I would be happy."

He adds, "I just want people to come in and have a really good experience and remember the great feeling of being in Portugal." 

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