Business dinner Palo Alto
Tamarine has really good food with a relaxed environment where you can actually hear each other talk. Tamarine is "contemporary Vietnamese," but given the Asian population in California, I actually think it is classic California.
I second Bistro Elan based on the foie gras, but the tables are spaced close together, so you won't get as much privacy.
There's really nothing that's "too fancy" in Palo Alto, so you're safe there. Lavanda is a pretty staid choice with an extensive wine list. Zibibbo is another solid choice with a pleasant patio. Evvia is greek so doesn't really fit into your california requirement, but oft recommended here.
On California avenue (much quieter than University) there's Bistro Elan. I went there for lunch a few years back and it was nice enough, but perhaps others have more recent feedback.