THE BEST WAY TO ISTANBUL

From LAX, Lufthansa, Air France, British and Delta offer connecting service (change of planes). Restricted round-trip fares begin at $644.

TELEPHONE NUMBERS

To call the numbers below from the U.S., dial 011 (the international dialing code), 90 (country code for Turkey) and the local number.

WHERE TO STAY

Seven Hills Hotel, Tevkifhane Sk. No. 8/A, Sultanahmet; 212-516-94-97; www.hotelsevenhills.com. Comfortable rooms with plain décor, but the location's ideal for first-time visitors. Doubles from $228.

Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet, 1 Tevkifhane Sokak, Sultanahmet-Eminonu; 212-638-82-00; www.fourseasons.com/istanbul. Housed in a century-old prison, this graceful 65-room hotel feels more boutique than Four Seasons. Doubles from $508.

WHERE TO EAT

Hamdi Restaurant, Tahmis Caddesi Kalcin Sokak Eminonu; 212-528-03-90, www.hamdirestorant.com.tr. A traditional kebab house on three levels with a rooftop terrace that offers panoramic views. Mezes (starters) $2 to $8.50; kebabs $10 to $15; desserts $4.50 to $8.50.

Mikla, Marmara Pera Hotel, 1174 Mesrutiyet Caddesi, Tepebasi; 212-251-46-46, www.istanbulyi.com. Chef Mehmet Gurs turns out stunning modern Mediterranean- Scandinavian fusion cooking. Appetizers $15 to $23; main courses $30 to $48.

Istanbul Modern Restaurant/Cafe, Istanbul Modern Sanat Muzesi (Istanbul Modern Art Museum), Meclis-i Mebusan Cad. Liman Sahasi, 4 Nolu Antrepo Salipazari, Karakoy; 212-334-73-00, www.istanbulmodern.org. The day starts with breakfast and sandwiches, and an ambitious lunch menu is served starting at 1 p.m. Lunch appetizers $6.75 to $18.50, main courses $18.50 to $38.

Rumeli Iskele, 1 Yahyakemal Cad., Rumeli Hisari, Sariyer; 212-263-29-97. A traditional seafood house in Rumeli Hisari with a lovely patio right on the banks of the Bosporus -- and views of Asia just across the strait. (Note: Because evening rush-hour traffic can make for a very long cab ride here, best to go on a weekend.) Dinner meze about $1 to $8 each; main courses about $38.