El Patio de Mario is on the far side of the zocolo (town square) in El Tuito, a tiny 3000 person mining town and the regional capital. At El Patio de Mario, I had one of the most enjoyable meals I've ever had, and I travel the developed world for work.
We ordered the guacamole. We watched the chefs (they looked suspiciously like local moms) made it right then, and threw the avocado stone into the mix to prove it. Delicious! I ordered the chile rellano. Really great.
I overheard the next table discussing raicilla, the local moonshine in Jalisco province. I had wanted to try some. Mario gave me a taste of it, along with the traditional lime and salt. When I said I liked it, he gave me more. It is a very strong tequila made from green, not blue, agave, with a unique taste. All the local borrachos (drunks) drink it, and you should try it just to cross it off your bucket list.
The food is "rustic" in the sense that it is simple enough that you can watch it being made, including the tortillas, etc. But it also is extremely well made. The flavors are perfect, the spices very subtle and well-balanced.
The bus from Puerta Vallarta to El Tuito is 24 pesos per person each way. We happened to be ziplining at Los Veranos Canopy Tour, which is about 3/4 the distance from Puerto Vallarta. After ziplining we decided to visit El Tuito on a lark. Just walking around this old mining town, seeing how the locals live, made our trip to Puerto Vallarta special.
Mario's Patio will bring us back again. We would take the 1 hour bus ride just for this great restaurant.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.