have to hand it to somebody

have (got) to hand it to (someone)

To give, or feel obliged to give, credit or recognition to someone for something they have done. I've got to hand it to you, the company has really turned a corner since you started managing the accounts. Still, you have to hand it to Jenny—she sure knows how to throw a party.
See also: hand, have

have to ˈhand it to somebody

(informal) admit, perhaps unwillingly, that you admire somebody for their skill, achievements, determination, etc: You have to hand it to him; he certainly knows how to play tennis.To be honest, I didn’t think she could cook, but I have to hand it to her. Tonight’s meal was fantastic.
See also: hand, have, somebody