Images of white beaches, blue water and margaritas are the first to flood my mind whenever I think of summertime. Perhaps that is why I can't get enough of this colorful tucked away Mexican restaurant in the Financial District. Once inside, with its festive decorations, it's easy to image you've been transported to some exotic place south of the border. Mercedes boast both excellent food and an "I-can't-feel-my-lips-after-just-one" margarita.

Open Monday through Friday from 11 am to 3pm, Mercedes is the perfect lunch spot for those with weekly 9 to 5 jobs. Bring back the idea of martini lunches by sharing a refreshing and rejunvenating midday pitcher of margaritas with friends before teetering back to the office. Sit at the bar and enjoy the warm summer breeze that blows in through the open doors and windows, or sit outside and indulge in their famous guacamole while putting some color in your cheeks.

Mercedes is a festive and affordable venue for private parties. They rent out the entire restaurant and bar forlots of corporate parties, holiday fiestas, birthdays and wedding rehearsal dinners. Lunch and afternoon catering is available Mon - Fri to downtown offices.